We had a black out the other night after one of those ferocious Summer storms that Queensland is famous for. It was pretty ugly while it lasted, and while it didn’t take the roof off, it sure sounded like it was giving it a good go. The house across the road was a blur through the wind and rain and tall trees almost bent to a right angle over power lines. Any wonder that a few must have gotten zapped and our whole island was plunged into chaos.
Darkness descended a short time afterwards, and while the storm abated, it was looking pretty grim for a hot meal and my regular CSI show at 8.30 pm.
Initially I was annoyed. No electricity meant that I couldn’t finish my computer work for the day, check my emails and pay some bills. I couldn’t even boil water for a cup of tea. I thanked the Government and their solar hot water rebate drive of the past 12 months, because without it, I probably wouldn’t have the 300 litre solar-powered tank sitting on the roof, and therefore, a hot shower.
After a couple of hours into it, it became apparent that we might be inconvenienced for a longer than what we had thought, so I pulled out my luxury scented candles to save a bit of battery power on the torches. As the calming scents of lavender, bergamot and delicious vanilla filled the air around us, we sat down on the floor and broke out a packet of crisps and a cheese platter, reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ of camping when we were kids.
‘The good old days’ are often more appealing the further you have travelled away from them, so reminiscing can be a combined process of forgetting the not- so-good stuff, and enhancing the pretty darn-cool-stuff – that we did as kids. Needless to say, there was plenty of talk on our loungeroom floor that evening about how much fun we had fishing, hiking, camping in a tent, with no hot water, no electricity, and making do with campfires and sand in your food.
We even got inspired and talked about dusting off our old Kombi and hitting the road again, doing a tour of the outback and seeing the sights of the ‘Red Centre’ before we were too old to enjoy it.
We were without power until about 5 am the next day. The reason that I know this is because I was woken from a dead sleep, where I had curled up next to the crisps, by the blaring of the television, and the whirring, beeping noises coming from every single appliance that I had had on when the power went off.
I didn’t know that I’d had so many things switched on and I didn’t realise the level of my dependence on all of the abovementioned gadgets that filled my home. I had a slight melt when I checked my computer and the Internet was still down, and that was when I realised that I would probably never go camping any time in the near future. My husband either, for that matter. He doesn’t like the feel of the sand between his toes or on his skin anymore, or so he told me in a fit of pique not long ago when I suggested a stroll along the beach one sunlight afternoon. How soon we forget our roots.
I don’t know when we changed, or when we ‘got old’, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. The responsibility of being an adult and trying to live a life in this new technologically-minded era is so far removed from what once was, it’s pretty hard to get back to, even if we wanted to. Part of me likes this new age I live in, and the benefits that come with it. Another part of me wants to be digging my toes into the sand, innocent and mortgage-free.
But do I really want to be sweeping the sand out of my modern, 21st century equipped household? Not really. I like it here right now. I’m moving with the times and I’m adapted and gadgeted.
I’m hoping that we don’t get another blackout in the near future, or we might take complete leave of our senses and buy a caravan.