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Monday, October 31, 2011

When Things Fall Apart...

Well, here it is the afternoon of October 31, and the state around me is one of disarray and jumbled thoughts.  We are still repairing from the freak fall/winter storm that blasted us over the weekend, and it's led me to think in a number of different threads, which I hope somehow to put together.


I have been without electricity in my house for about 36 hours of so; strange, I had power on Saturday, but Sunday morning it was gone.  My landlords (aged they are) have gone without since I think Saturday, and our block of homes around here are out as well.


That is a very strange thing...I don't recall the power ever being out for this long in all the years I've lived here.  I can't remember power being out anywhere for such a long time.  Then again, so much of the world doesn't even have electricity still.  We certainly do take that for granted, don't we?


I worry about my landlord and his wife.  They are nearly 90, and while I marvel at their ability to get around, they do have their limits.  They have been handling this as well as they can, but I can tell they're worried.  At least they have family and friends to look in on them, but I do wonder about a number of things.


We did indeed get slammed...some 12,000 were out of power in York alone, and while that's down to less than half, Reading still has more than 12,000 customers out.  From this  area of south central PA to the northeast, it was a swath that storm cut.


For this area, lot of downed trees, limbs, etc., especially on the property I rent.  We're gonna need to get someone here to drag it out.  Most of them are too damn big, and need cutting, and so forth.


As it is Samhain, I have dragged a large amount of brush, wood and stuff to my little stone fire pit.  I will be doing a little burning this evening, and hopefully meditation on this and other things.  I am now officially solitary, and it's time to do this.  I'd hoped to be with friends tonight, but circumstances I don't think will permit this.


It is strange, coming home to a dark house, using candles and a flashlight to get around, and then burrowing under every comforter and blanket I have to stay warm and actually sleep.  It does get pretty cold here, and will tonight.  The temperature in my house is hovering at 50 degrees; not terrible, but still a problem eventually for the pipes and other fixtures.


My cats are handling it well; Sofia is on my lap right now, and they all know it's warm where the human sleeps.  Izzy just won't come in there, but she knows where to find space of her own.


I just have to bring water in; again, I'm gonna lose a bunch of food in my fridge, if this doesn't come back soon, but that's nothing really.


OK...where's this going?  I've been thinking about this problem for a long time, and I wonder if any of this makes since.  Our infrastructure has been crumbling in this country, and this outage is one example of how that has happened.


Then...take how YOU feel, if you are affected by all this.


Here's a similie:  ever have one of those days where things just fall apart?  The car doesn't start for some reason, your coffeemaker just suddenly dies on you, your laptop won't fire up or just freezes and keeps doing it.  These are all little things that we can get around and handle.  


Sometimes, you get behind that one person in line at a store who takes forever...or you get the clerk who is clueless and doesn't fully know their job yet...you feel the tension rise, don't you?  You feel ready to snap; you want to, but you don't because you know better.


But a lot of people don't like that, and don't have that in them.  Some people do snap; breaking points are different, and I wonder if we're not headed right for it.


Look at the Occupy movements around the US.  People have just had enough with Wall Street, our government, the way things are.  Our infrastructure is crumbling from the inside; our roads and bridges are one thing, there's also the infrastructure that is our economy.


Look at the jobs...or lack thereof.  In my line of work, the broadcasting world has taken another gash to the body, and the blood is again flowing.  Clear Channel, one of the VERY BIG BROADCASTING CORPORATIONS OF AMERICA (do you know where the joke lies therein?) has again slashed its staff, and there will be an effort to make even more with even less.


My friend and colleague Scott Fybush details the latest bloodletting at www.nerw.com -- please check it out.


I work part-time for CC Harrisburg, so I know some of the people let go.  We've all been through it, but it seems every line of work is being eroded by a need to keep the bottom line fat and happy, the shareholders fat and happy and the owners fatter and happier.


Jobs being exported overseas where people work in virtual slave labor conditions to make stuff, and I'm sorry, but not as good as we could have done in a lot of cases.  Okay, we sure lost our way with cars.


We are now a nation of service jobs; we're servicing everyone, including ourselves, and even that is not working that well, is it?  


A power outage turns to outrage for some people; it's nothing compared to the big picture, don't you think?


I wonder where we're headed; I really think we need to reach a consensus on what our values and priorities are, and none of this involves politics or religion or anything else.  


If we're going to have an economy that provides good services and things we all need and want...we have to pay for it.  More than we have for years, look at gas; we got away with it for so long, and we still do.  $3.45 for regular?  Three times that elsewhere in the world, folks, get over it.


That said, we also have to consider how we are going to repair ourselves, so that we can take the stress out of our lives, and still get things done.


We are a nation that knows what we want, and we want it yesterday.  We've all been like that; well, I know as well as anyone that power restoration will not happen yesterday or right now.  Bet anything, when the power comes back on, people will appreciate it even more.


Do we want too much?  Sometimes, yes.  A little inconvenience becomes one big headache, but only if we let it.


Guess what I'm saying is, let's remember what the deal is, and try to make the right choices for us.  Doesn't hurt anyone other.


Be mindful of what you have, and when you think what you need is important, ask yourself if it really is.  Or can it wait?


Now this takes me back a ways...I remember when I was a kid one time, when we did have a significant power outage.  Probably only a few hours, but it was at night, and we were in the dark.  


Mom had a couple of decorative kerosene lamps, which actually worked.  We lit those up, and I read by one of them for a while.  That's all they had, or firelight back in the day.  How many of you remember that?


Alice told me a story, which is going to be very hard for you to believe, as it was for me:  she used to live in Perry County, which is northwest of here...she and whomever she was with at the time lived there about nine years.  Now...wait for it...


...THEY DID NOT HAVE ELECTRICITY.  EVER.


Now how you live like that...I had to wonder.  I still do.


Anyway, I have candles, and I have other ways to work around all this for a bit.  Camping, if you will, just inside.


I can also escape to places where I can plug in my laptop (hooray for the MacBook Pro battery!), shower, etc.  But you know, a little inconvenience makes you remember how good we have it...and that we can make it even better.


Okay...I have Samhain to do tonight, and I turn 46 on the morrow.  Hopefully we'll "get power" by then, but who knows?


Blessed Samhain to you.

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