Last night our street experienced an unexpected power cut. Well, when I say unexpected, I mean unexpected to me. I would have been a little less clueless about the 6pm-11pm “electricity maintenance” had I actually read the letter posted weeks ago!
But after digging out the letter, and accepting my evening of darkness, I decided to make the most of it and ran myself a candlelit bubble bath. As I lay back, with a glass of spiced rum, a slice of Frangipane (well…I wasn’t cooking dinner anytime soon) and listened to the Velvet Underground, I started to reflect on things taken for granted.
At first, I thought of the huge reliance we have on electricity; to power our lights, cool our fridges, cook our meals and (often) heat our homes. I thought about all the devices and luxury items I couldn’t use without power, and the things I couldn’t do without light. I realised this was the first time in a very long time I had spent an evening without internet or my phone (whose battery had already died).
I thought about the people in the world who could not afford to use electricity as much as me, or who not have access to it at all. And sheepishly realised how I took the access to these resources for granted on a daily basis. My thoughts also went to the lonely and vulnerable, who might be sitting alone and scared without any light and heating; of which there are likely thousands across the world right now.
I then began to imagine a world without power; in which there was no longer means to feed our TVs, phones, cookers and lighting. A world where candle light and an early night was common practice. I wondered if I would see that day in my lifetime; where the worlds resources are exhausted, or we’re found unprepared when a natural disaster strikes.
Finally, as my rum started to fuzzy my head and I snapped myself out of my sombre day dream, I realised one other thing I had taken for granted. Myself. It had been so long since I’d switched off from the outside world, stepped away from my devices, and simply pondered. So long since I had imagined a world outside of my immediate awareness, and drawn my thoughts outward toward an alternative life.
And as the lights came back on, and normality returned, I vowed to myself to do that more often. To turn off the lights, and the computer, and the phone; either to relax in a bath, or simply to remind myself to be grateful for the life I have.