Saturday, October 08, 2005

Stumbling around in the Dark

I sometimes think I was born a couple centuries too late. For example, recently while watching a re-run of the PBS series "Frontier House" I thought to myself, "I could have done that". One of my favorite vacations is to go canoeing in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota where you can easily be 3 days from another person and whatever you need you have to carry with you. No electricity, no cellphone, no gas motored vehicles allowed. Just you and the quiet of the wilderness. I don't mind being without the modern conveniences of the 21st Century BUT, when I am in civilization I'm just like every one of us. I like my microwave, my wifi internet connection and I like being able to plug an appliance in and get 110V/60HZ AC power.

This morning, at 5:30am, just as MBH and I were stirring to begin our Saturday morning routine of showering, feeding LB (our cat), and deciding what book to take to Dammits, we were greeted with the sudden loss of our power. The only sound to be heard in the house was the quiet beeping of MBH's back-up power for his computers. I looked over in the pitch blackness of our bedroom at MBH and uttered "Perfect, you know this means I'm not going to be able to blow dry my hair". I'm sure, if I had been able to see him, he would have been rolling his eyes. It is amazing how many different appliances I need just to get ready to go to our coffee shop in the morning. I counted them. I need 7 appliances in the morning to get out the door: alarm clock, coffee maker, a can opener (cat food), blow dryer, curling iron or hot rollers, toaster, radio in the kitchen (to listen to NPR or BBC).

So, this morning, after discovering the flashlight we keep in the kitchen for exactly these cases needed new batteries and then spending another 10 minutes trying to find alternate flashlights and candles, I got to live my Frontier House fantasy. It took me 10 minutes to find a hand crank can opener to feed the cat. Forget putting make up on or doing anything but dragging a comb through my hair. And that morning cup of coffee that I require to make me human, not happening. Probably not a huge deal because considering the way I must look right now, human probably isn't required. OK, I'm thinking. I can live with this. Just consider it a camping trip at home. Then, it dawned on both MBH and I. We weren't going anywhere soon because the bus line we live on is an electric bus line and they probably aren't running and taking the car isn't an option because without electricity we aren't opening the garage door and the handle to the garage broke off anyways. So, I guessed we were hoofing it to Dammits where we hoped to find power for MBH's wifi and my coffee.

Much to our surprise, the MBTA apparently has alternate power because a bus did arrive not long after we reached the corner and we soon found ourselves in the part of Cambridge that had power. Not for long. We had just sat down in our normal chairs at Dammits and started to make ourselves comfortable when the power went out. It was just 3 employees, us and this poor guy who had just gotten off a plane from Paris and needed some milk stumbling around in the dark. On the good news front, I'm still living on Frontier House and no one can see me in the dark. Thank goodness they had brewed the coffee before the power went out!

So much for wanting to live in the 19th Century...