Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Snowtober Stole My Tech

Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets!  Image: Nicole Wakelin
I am typing this post from my 52 degree living room. My laptop has a four hour charge and the fireplace is roaring so it’s just warm enough to type without my fingers falling off. Turn on the heat, you say? I wish! I am suffering the fallout of Snowtober, a cute name for a major nuisance. It’s what happens when a foot of heavy, wet snow falls early in the season before the leaves have dropped from the trees. It piles on those pretty leaves until limbs and even whole trees snap, taking power lines with them as they crash to the ground.

At first it was kind of fun. The house wasn’t too chilly, and it all looked pretty. I had a fully charged cell phone to check Facebook and twitter and I could even keep track of the progress my utility company was making to get it all put back together again. We were one big happy family, all slightly chilled and without power, but safe and sound. After a few hours, though, we decided it was time to venture out for a warm meal and melt the cold from our bones.
A quick turn out onto the main street and we beheld the chaos in which we would all live without traffic lights. None of the lights were working and everyone, I mean everyone, was trying to get to someplace warm. You have not truly lived until you’ve tried to make it through a four-way intersection, with multiple turning lanes, along with a small, cranky mob of your fellow citizens. I don’t care how many lights turn red and make me late anymore, so long as they work.
Our next stop was at the one open grocery store, where I managed to snag a few precious pieces of wood to warm the house.  I got in a huge line, only to get to the front and see that their credit card machines were not working.  I never have cash and apparently neither does anyone else so we all stood there scrambling for good old fashioned paper money. I was lucky to find enough to make my purchase with a few dollars and an embarrassing amount of change. The next time I have to swipe my card twice, I will do so happily and count myself lucky not to be scavenging for change.
And although I don’t watch a lot of TV and don’t even have cable, I do have a few shows that I watch on Hulu, Netflix and the like through our Xbox.  That first night, when it got dark, all I had was my half charged Nook and an iPhone with a quickly depleting battery.  I kept thinking of the shows I’d planned to watch that were trapped, stuck out there in the land of light and heat, just out of my reach.  I will never again complain when my Xbox updates and makes me wait to see my favorite show, so long as it works.
This morning I suffered Snowtober's final insult. Somehow, I managed to do something to my phone and it was completely dead this morning. I picked up it's cold, lifeless little body from my bedside table and it was all I could do not to scream.  I am typing this post and heading to the one friend's house that has power.  I am going to plug in every device I own and she is even making bacon.  I can only hope that tonight I won't again be huddled under the covers, hoping beyond hope that my phone survives the night.  Snowtober, you stole my tech, but it's time to give it back! 


4 comments:

  1. So sorry you're having to go through all that, but I'm glad you're warm and safe. I went through it a few years ago when we were out of power for ten days during an ice storm. Now I have a survival kit and a power inverter in my car! If I hear a really loud whoop from the eastern part of the country, I'll know your lights are back on. :)

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  2. Nicole -

    I know you're typing a blog post here and being at least a little humorous, but I can't help but feel a little sad about it, as a reflection on our society these days. Forgive me if I'm reading too much into it. Being without power, and losing heat and the ability to, say, cook food are serious issues.

    Not being able to update Twitter, check facebook, play Xbox, watch Hulu, or make a blog post? Sigh...not so much. My goodness, you live in a house filled with more (non-electronic) games than the average 20 homes combined. Sounds like a good time to break out board games with the kids - well maybe after some good 'ol fashioned outdoor play.

    And that night...maybe "Betrayal at House on the Hill" or "Last Night on Earth" by candlelight? Well, maybe not a zombie game, I'm sick and tired of the zombie craze...but that's another topic.

    And oh by the way, about the Nook...they still make these things called "books", that you don't need batteries to power up.

    Yeah, I know, I sound like an old man. I like my gadgets just like anyone else. But to be so utterly dependent on them...we've lost something along the way, I fear.

    Sorry if this comes across as a grumpy reply to what was intended to be a amusing blog entry... Enjoy the bacon!

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  3. Hey Keith,

    You do sound every so slightly like a grumpy old man ;) but that's okay.

    Of course, it is serious that we've still got about 30K people without power in my town alone(168K in the state), temps dropping to the 20's-30's every night, gas stations(those that are open)running out of gas to power generators, homes and cars damaged by falling trees, and people throwing away hundreds of dollars of spoiled food from their fridges and freezers. Dwelling on that doesn't help or change the situation, but a laugh is worth it's weight in gold.

    As for losing something, we've gained so much! All those gadgets and things like twitter and facebook mean we can check in on our neighbors, share important information and get help far more easily than we could years ago. They help us be far more connected to each other, especially at a time of crisis.

    And those books you speak of, awesome, yet last I checked they still require some kind of light which means candles or batteries once the sun sets, unless you've got enhanced vision, in which case, how'd you get that?

    Now, back to planning how to keep warm for the fourth night with my now fully charged gadgets!

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  4. You're right, those books do need light. Fortunately, for at least 12 hours a day there's a big 'ol burning ball of gas up in the sky that provides plenty of light - no batteries needed. And at night...those flashlight batteries can easily be replaced...no need to charge them in a wall outlet (or, if you want to get some exercise in, you can get one of those hand-crank lights, ha!)

    I'm not sure you'll convince me that twitter, facebook, etc. are real good tools in an emergency. After all, as you pointed out - they need power. And if you do get them going, you have to wade through posts about what your friends ate for lunch today.

    Wow...I'm not helping my grumpy old man image.

    Anyway...hopefully you'll be back to normal soon. Stay safe.

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