No Power

It's not the end of the world

June 12, 2021

I find it quite ironic that the day after I wrote something that mentioned the possibility of power outages and the potential they have to disrupt things that I find myself sitting at home without power. It always surprises me how much of my plans are disrupted by this sort of thing. As a computer science student everything I do for school is reliant on having electricity and a lot of it (especially what I was planning to do today) is also dependent on a solid internet connection. But what I find interesting is that so many other things these days are also brought to a halt when the lights go out.

There was one day while I was in high school where everyone showed up to school and the school had no power, lightning had struck a part of the school's system severely damaging it. The building still had emergency power so there was still enough light to see and if I remember correctly teachers were still able to turn on their computers to access any lesson plans they had saved on there. But of course projectors weren't an option, nothing could be printed and the only way to access the internet was through mobile data which was still slow and expensive back then. This all was laid on top of the fact that everyone was stuck in a building of smelly whiny teenagers with no air conditioning.

We endured our first period classes but midway through our second class everyone was sent home. We never really were given a good reason as to why it took administration so long to make the decision to send us home, some people speculated that it was because teachers couldn't take attendance without their computers, others think they may have been forced to by the district, or maybe they had to convince the district to let them, and a few others were convinced that they sent everyone home because they were sick of complaints about there bing no air conditioning.

And while I don't like being out of the loop I guess it really doesn't matter what the actual reason for the delay or decision was because the fact that the decision was made is the interesting thing. With the exception of computer based classes there is noting taught within a high school that should require the internet or even electricity, but yet my school's instruction was brought to a halt by a simple lightning strike. I was in classrooms that had fifteen hundred dollars worth of textbooks laying in them which sat untouched as teachers couldn't take out a piece of paper to write down who showed up to class that day. Sure teaching without electricity is undesirable but it is certainly not impossible, the single room log cabin schoolhouse still stands in my mom's hometown which stands as a testament to this fact.

It was not that long ago when electricity was considered a luxury, it didn't reach the town that my grandma grew up in until she was eleven (and she's still alive), there are also many parts of the world where electricity is a luxury. Contrary to popular belief it is popular to live without electricity people did it for thousands of years and there are millions of people around the world who still do, and it is especially possible to live without the internet, sometimes I wish I did.

This is not the first time I've written on this topic and I wouldn't be surprised if it is not the last either. The reason I write about this is to that we can try to humble ourselves. Most of us live in an environment filled with first world problems and a lot of us seem to have forgotten how insignificant those problems are in the grand scheme of things. Having lived in a third world country I get tired of hearing people whine endlessly about simple things like flight delays, spotty wifi, and an hour or two without power, all of these things are insignificant in the grand scheme of things and complaining about them changes nothing and only makes you a less enjoyable person to be around. Things like these are not the end of the world and are often times great opportunities to reflect on things.