A few days ago Hurricane Sandy blew threw Jamaica pulling down trees, light posts and occasionally lives as she went. Having teamed up with other weather conditions to become a superstorm, she’s now wreaking havoc in the US, seemingly bent on imitating the film The Day After Tomorrow. As far as damages go, Jamaica has certainly weathered worse, and our hearts go out to those in North America, especially in those states where they’re nor really used to this hurricane thing. And after the storm, after we’ve begun to pick up the pieces, is one of the hardest parts to deal with. And no, I’m not talking about picking up the windswept, water soaked pieces our dealing with the major loss, I’m talking about life without electricity.
After a hurricane it’s usual for the powers that be or their pretentious pals to tell us how much was lost. They calculate the loss of property and how much the repair will cost. But what they never measure is the impact of the loss of “light”. Today, being plugged in isn’t so metaphoric. Most of us are glued to at least one glowing screen for most of the day, sometimes two or three at a time switching from laptop, to phone, to tablet. So now the loss of power takes on a whole new light.
As ridiculous as I find the characters on that new drama Revolution, you can’t help but wonder what we would do if the power goes for too long. Even here in the Caribbean where the loss of electricity comes with the territory, these days, after a few hours of no electricity we get a little flustered trying to remember what we used to do when the power went. Heck some of us who turned to Kindle for our reading pleasure suddenly realize the value of a hardcopy book (assuming it didn’t get wet).
Faced with all the damage that comes in the wake of a storm, it’s hard to think of any positives. But the truth is, storms strip us bare, giving us a chance to look at ourselves beyond the electric glare. They remind us that when the power goes and separates us from our thousands (or in my case tens) of twitter followers hanging on to our every retweet, all we are left with are the people in our real lives, not our virtual one.
It also gives us a chance to get back to the basics and allow a few of those ole time sinting to come back, if only for a little while. When you’re stuck with your family in the dark, you’ll either have to kill them or talk to them. Hopefully you’ll choose the talking (it’s a lot less messy). Technology has brought so much to modern life, that we kind of forget what it has also taken. The truth of the matter is, emoticons can’t replace emotions, and my following you on twitter or stalking you on Facebook is not quite the same as a check in to see how you’re really doing, because you’re status update might not capture everything. With the myriad of social media now available to us, we’re always so connected that we can’t see the disconnect.
So after Sandy has huffed and puffed, and especially if she hasn’t blown your house down, note that she might leave you standing in the dark, cold and internet-less, but hopefully you’re not alone. So take the time to find yourself and those around you. The morning after a storm is always beautiful. It’s as though nature is reminding us that we can rebuild, regroup and eventually retweet.