Teleworking Without Power, Courtesy of Irene

 width=Life Without Electricity

It’s been a week of tussling with Mother Nature out here in Virginia.  There was the 5.8 earthquake on Tuesday in which telecommuters fared well and the Washington Monument not so well.  It was followed by the remnants of Hurricane Irene which unfortunately did not leave telecommuters quite so unscathed.  Power was knocked out all up and down the East Coast, during which I realize how completely helpless I am without electricity.  The worst part is not being able to get any information:  I had no Internet access, no television, no radio, and very limited phone use.  (We were keeping our cell phones off for emergencies since we couldn’t recharge them.  Oh why didn’t we get a landline?)  Then there was the issue of food: no refrigeration, no microwave, no stove, and no grill.  The least of our problems was not having light.  I mean the sun will come out tomorrow, right?  I’m just grateful that water didn’t get cut off -that would have been truly catastrophic-although we are being asked to conserve water since primary power for water purification isn’t back, yet.

As the blackout continued well into Sunday, I began to wonder about my options as a remote worker.  I could:

  1. drive a couple of hours up towards the D.C. metro area where there was bound to be a coffee shop with electricity and wi-fi.  (I had a colleague in a previous remote teaching job who actually did this when her area’s Internet was knocked out because of snow.  She even made the news for being such a dedicated professional!)
  2. shell out $600+ for a gas-powered electric generator and a few gasoline cans.  Some people were anticipating no electricity for up to 2 weeks, so I see the point of that.  For me,  I don’t know when I’d use it again, and there was an awfully long line at Home Depot yesterday.
  3. whip out my trusty paper notebook and a pencil and buy the morning paper.  Hopefully I can work on those articles I never have time to write as I wait to get online again.

None of the options sounded too appealing to me, and thankfully I didn’t have to choose any of them since electricity was restored to our area Sunday evening, so at least nearby stores are up and running even if our house electricity isn’t.  Moral of the story:  Live in California where nature rarely chooses to affect your lifestyle.


photo of snapped electrical wire by edkohler

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Comments ( 2 )
  • anne
    Alan McCrindle says:

    Moral of the story: Live in California where nature rarely chooses to affect your lifestyle.

    While this has been true in the past I wonder how long it will last with climate change and the limits of a single planet?

    ‘Heat Armageddon’ in California’s Death Valley? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/9579120.stm

    Where is California’s water coming from? Isn’t a lot of it coming from other states? – I am from Australia so excuse any ignorance.

    How does a society built on “cheap energy” and a freeway society cope when energy prices rise – “natures limits”? – adopt video conferencing!

    And if we add the debt crisis with overvalued housing – possibly a result of “human nature” – it may be that California may not be so benign in the future.

    I love what you are doing at Vsee by the way – where is the beta mac client I volunteering for?

  • anne
    anne says:

    Thanks, Alan! I had forgotten about drought issues and pitched water battles between Northern and Southern California. Maybe I should specify “live in the Bay Area where nature rarely chooses to affect your lifestyle, but housing and gas prices will leave you gasping for breath.”–definitely good reasons for more video collaboration!

    From what I understand, beta Mac is closing in for the kill in just a few short weeks 🙂

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