So, how about that power outage yesterday? That was pretty nuts, eh?
I’m sure many businesses in town were feeling it – for three hours employees likely wandered around their workplaces, wondering when power would be restored and checking their smartphones for updates on what was going on.
Isn’t is bizarre how everything coming to a screeching halt when something we take for granted is taken away from us?
It’s probably not as bad for everyone, but in the Alaska Highway news office, we are dependant on electricity. We need it to work our phones, run our computers and our Internet access. Without these things, it makes doing our job incredibly difficult.
As co-workers descended out of the darkness of the editorial and composing departments, a few of us suggested handwriting our news stories out in our best printing so people could read it. Sure there was a photocopier around somewhere that was working so we could get the paper out, right?
It was meant as a joke, but honestly, I don’t know how those journalists past got the newspaper out without computers and Internet. And it wasn’t that long ago that newsrooms still developed all their photos on site in a darkroom, maybe six or seven years ago. Now it’s all digital, and if we can’t get the photos off the camera, then what do we do? Draw pictures? That could be fun, actually. All stick people, all the time!
I know I’ve talked about this before, but our dependence on electricity and technology is so utterly complete that we don’t know what to do when it’s taken away. A conversation with the lights out lead down the inevitable path of ‘oh my goodness, imagine if the lights were out permanently?! What if we went back to the dark ages and had to start all over?! Society and civilization as we know it would end!’
That might be taking it a little far, but technically it’s true. If some electromagnetic pulse or whatever wiped out all our electronic devices and cut off our power supplies, civilization as we know it to be right here and now would technically end. A new – or old, depending on how you look at – civilization would have to emerge. One where we aren’t walking around with a cellphone attached to our ears and if we needed to find information we’d have to consult an encyclopedia, not Wikipedia.
But it’s not just the recent technology that we’d miss. We’d have to go back to a time where we didn’t have dishwashers to clean our dishes, and washers and dryers to clean our clothes. We’d have to cook meat over a fire (which I wouldn’t mind at all, to be honest) and learn to go back to analogue clocks and cameras, re-learn how to write in cursive and hold a pencil properly, maybe even go back to ink and quills!
It’d be like it was in the pioneer days, which wasn’t really all that long ago in Fort St. John when you think about it. We have many local pioneers still around that could teach us all how to survive through the bitter North Peace winters. And we have many First Nations that could teach all of us technology addicts how to live off the land. We’d probably do all right, until those of us that really can’t live without iAnything start to go insane and have to be locked up in basements with their useless items, talking to people who aren’t there and hallucinating how may bars they have left.
Then the lights came back on again, and everyone went back to work.
It’s amazing what you get to thinking about during a three-hour power outage, isn’t it?