A few weeks ago, I posted a blog on Digital Detox. Since writing it, I’ve starting making conscious amends to my lifestyle to minimize the unnecessary attention that my smart devices and gadgets “demanded” from me. This means not reaching for my phone every chance I get, or checking my Facebook posts every few hours or using Whatsapp incessantly. I also make sure my phone is put away during meals, 30 minutes before bedtime (exception being if I am talking to my Mom 🙂 ) and while at traffic lights. While it hasn’t been easy and I have succumbed to the allure a few times, I’m doing much better now. I do still rely heavily on my laptop to read, write my blog and catch up on news and the happenings around the world. Skimm just doesn’t cut it! That being said though, yesterday my discipline was put to test.
Yesterday we were hit by a thunderstorm, pummeling rain and lightening. It was my assigned work-from-home day and as I sat in my pajamas working at the kitchen counter, I heard a small zap sound and suddenly everything went dark. We had lost power. Now this isn’t the first time this has happened so I wasn’t too worried. Sometimes it rains hard and trips a circuit or a fuse is blown. Usually it comes right back, the most it’s been out is 2 hours. This time it took, let’s see, 15 hours. At first I was laissez faire about it. I texted my Manager to let her know my power was out and my colleague in case anyone was looking for me or needed something. “Have them text or call me” I said.
At the 1.5 hour mark, when there was still no sign of it coming back on, I called the local power company, only to get an automated message about the storm causing widespread outage and that the teams were working diligently to restore power. My day was chockablock full of meetings and stuff to be done and here I was dead in the water. I decided I needed to drive to the nearest Starbucks or to work. Neither option sounded enticing in the downpour but I couldn’t just sit by twiddling my thumbs. I got dressed and headed to the garage. Crap! No power, meaning the garage door won’t open. I try to engage the manual override and it won’t budge. Meanwhile it looks like the end of the world outside. It is pouring in sheets now with no sign of letting up. If I were Noah and had built an Arc, now would have been the time to load myself and my animals onto it and head out. Sorry, no Arc either.
I call my colleague and let her know that I’m flying blind and need her help with sending any invites to my personal email so I can still be semi-productive. She willingly obliges, even offers to take minutes and send out emails for action items. I love the people I work with! Well, some of them. 🙂 It’s now been five hours since we lost power. My laptop is officially running on fumes and is about to die on me anytime. I call the power company again. Nothing new. Five minutes later, my laptop keels over. OK then.
I am officially under house arrest and unwillingly in digital detox. This is what I would call divine intervention with a sardonic twist! To add to this, I realize I had forgotten to plug in my personal laptop which now sits silent on my night stand. So technically the only device “alive” now is my phone and that too has about half the charge left. Suddenly I go into panic mode. What will I do if all my devices die on me. All my homebound hobbies are tied to them! It’s 5:30 pm with plenty of daylight left but no way to leave the house. OK, I’m going to have to cook. And then I realize, our cooktop is electric too. This is turning into a serious “power” struggle now!
It begins to dawn on me how technologically crippled I’ve become. I rely on these advances so much, if they were all to be taken away, I’d be lost. It wouldn’t be so bad if there was someone to talk to (other than the dogs and I’ve done my share of canine conversing) but I was home alone. I start to devolve into boredom, loneliness and then self pity except neither of these are warranted. I’m not suffering from the power and technology cutoff as much as I am from being cutoff from the world. Now I know what solitary confinement in prison feels like. Note to self – do not commit any crimes that will result in incarceration.
I walk into my home office and look at the wall of shelves laden with books. I think to myself, it’s been a while since I’ve read a paper book. Ever since I adopted my e-reader, my paper books have been relegated to adorning the shelves. I pick up my favorite book “A Big Little Life” by Dean Koontz, dust off the thin film of dust and settle myself into the nook of my couch. Today there shall be no power struggle, time to rest in peace.