October 29th 2011, as I was stretching after my workout I looked up at the window and saw snow falling from the cold gray sky. Snow before Halloween?! How could this be? By the time I had gotten back to my room on the fourth floor, it was snowing much harder and began to accumulate on the grass and trees. I think I’ll just stay in, I thought.
As I sat in the living room near the gas fireplace, the lights kept flickering. Having experienced winter storms before I knew the power was definitely going to go out at some point that evening. As my house and I were sitting at dinner a mist the flickering florescent lights, the power finally went out. It was bound to come back on soon, right?
No, the power did not come on for more than twenty four hours. No computers, no internet, no lights (other than the emergency lights in the hallways). Students had to conserve their battery power on cell phones, if the battery wasn’t already dead. But also no hot water for tea, no coffee, and limited food choices. The power outage made me realize how much we rely on technology and electricity in our every day lives and also how socially isolating technology can be.
My housemates and I passed the time by reading assignments that were not on the internet and later by playing games and sharing stories while gathered in the one room of the house with heat and light. “This must be what it was like in the early days at Smith.” one of my housemates commented. In that room, we laughed and talked together, rather than complain about the lack of internet and power. It helped me see that we can find entertainment in spaces other than visual media on the television or internet and that maybe we should try to find other forms of entertainment even when the power is on.