Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Justification for Self Pity

Typically, I find solace and comfort in writing. These days, putting fingers to the keyboard doesn’t seem appropriate. Living without creature comforts gives a person a whole new perspective on what is important and what isn’t. Andy and I are far from suffering. We are warm at night, can cook and have a radio for some semblance of a connection to the world. When I start to feel sorry for myself, I think of folks like the victims of hurricane Katrina who lost not only homes, but in many instances their livelihoods.

As of this writing, we are up to 132 hours without power. That is 5 ½ days. I am thankful that I have a job, where there is power, lights, and even a shower. Not many places of employment can boast showers. The market is next door to the office, and they have power, so I am not starving. In watching my reactions I feel that I have taken the power outage in stride for the most part and realize that there are thousands of people in the same predicament. However, the education I am getting from watching how our routines and habits are so much a part of our lives is interesting.

Routine and habit can and often cloak us in a sense of security. When routine is disrupted our brains stall. We stop in our tracks dazed momentarily, quickly recalculate and modify to fit our current circumstance. This is good. I can see we are adaptable. It is much harder to release our grip on habit. We cannot see ourselves as others do, and therefore we are often unaware of our own habits. It is discomforting to me, to see for the first time, just how many habits I have. Looking at my habits, I’m trying to decide which are good and which are bad. This is another dilemma. By what criteria do I judge good from bad, short of the obvious of course?

I also see in us, as a culture, the excess we indulge in. It seems almost gluttonous, the power consumption I witness as I travel home through areas with restoration. A light in every window and Christmas ornament aglow seems almost disrespectful to those of us heading home to a dark house. It is not their fault. They are creatures of habit and routine as well. Once routines are restored, we never consider them again. They are part of us and we cannot see these things in ourselves.

The power company has updated our town’s status. We have been degraded from an estimate of restoration today, to uncertain. The asterisk near my town name has me looking at the other towns with the same notation. The snow today is not helping matters, and by Friday the weather is predicted to downgrade further. This does not bode well for us. It seems I am facing another weekend in the dark. There is no time here for self pity. I need a plan. I need to relinquish my routine. I need to correct my habits. There is plenty to do that does not require electricity.

1 comment:

JoeRocket said...


We're in the same boat here. Day 6 of no power. Got kicked out of our hotel because we only booked 2 days. Now, staying with friends. Glad to have them!

Hope this is all resolved soon!

Best wishes,