Reflections on Life without Electricity

It's been a crazy few days here in New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  We lost power and you can imagine the concern that my wife and I felt with a newborn and a three-year-old in the house.  I only prepared for a day of inconvenience, definitely not an extended power-outage. Luckily, my parents still had power so they opened their doors to us.  I filled up our cars with fuel without too much trouble so I haven't faced the hassles many others are having with limited access to gasoline. (Many people are getting generators so they need gas to run those machines too.  As more and more people buy gas-powered generators as back-up energy sources for their homes, that can lead to a slew of other dangers as well.) I know electricity is a luxury and my travails don't come close to the despair of people who lost their loved ones and homes, but the last few days have been more stressful than I expected or was willing to admit.

My landlady called me to let me know that power has finally been restored on my block, but it's a bittersweet moment -- my mother-in-law and sister-in-law in New Jersey and other relatives in New York and Connecticut are still without power. Life is definitely still not back to normal.  It reminds me again about the vulnerability of technology and what we would face if the lights went out forever.

Even the upcoming Presidential Elections are a question mark for me.  As more and more polling sites have converted to electronic balloting, what if power isn't restored 100%?  Sure, there might be contingency plans to vote on paper and the tallying might take longer than usual, but as so many people are trying to recover from the storm's deadly onslaught, I wouldn't be surprised if the voter turnout is even lower than expected in many of the affected areas.

If there is a shining light in all this darkness, I would imagine that it's the realization that we need to continue to invest in our infrastructure, develop emergency plans, and take all the warnings we receive seriously, always preparing for the worst.

October was a month that almost knocked me to my knees, beginning with a move to a new place, followed by the birth of my son, and then the Hurricane Blackout Madness.  I wonder what November and December have in store.