The Power of Technology

I live in a wildfire district…so much so that nobody will even insure my home. The sound of slurry bombers, the sight of helicopters with buckets soaring through the grey and misty sky is common. I’ve seen balls of fire rolling toward me and breathed ash in the air.

It’s a risk…one you take to live in such a beautiful place.

Because of this, I recently experienced life with two power outages. I don’t understand why everyone got so upset over this, but I’d rather be inconvenienced for a few days than lose my home. I don’t imagine being displaced can be convenient in any way.

Living in a wildfire district has its challenges.

At any rate, I was prepared. When you live in a wildfire district, you always have water and food stored up. Or, you should. So, I hunkered down. My devices were all charged, and for half a week, life went on as usual.

It was a little quiet, though. I stared at the half-life battery of my iPhone and decided to listen to a little music. I could always charge it in my car, which was gassed up and ready to go.

I did some work and watched the dishes pile up. That first night, I barbecued some water and took a half-inch bath. I wasn’t suffering.

The days passed like this, but I did start getting edgy. By day two, every device I had was dead, except my iPhone, which was almost dead.

Here’s the thing about humans and their ability to adapt. I was an hour away from power, but it felt like everyone was living without power. It felt like Armageddon. I didn’t think to get in my car and find a Starbucks. I just lived without power and went on about my business.

By day three, I was loco. I had to get out of my house. Besides, I had work to do…emails to answer. Books to write. Blogs to write. I’m not a big social media person, but even that was sounding good.

The quiet was unnerving, and I live in the country where I only thought it was quiet. There was no humming of computers, no churning of a washing machine. No sound of the shower running.

Then, as I packed every device I had in the house and drove to work, rushing in with flat irons and laptops and more than one Kindle, I felt like a hypocrite. It was the absence of technology that made me nuts. I didn’t mind going to bed and reading with a powerful flashlight. I didn’t really mind barbecuing my water on the grill. I didn’t mind brushing my teeth with lukewarm water from a bottle.

And that made me think about our children…those that have been born to high speed internet and electric cars and a host of changing technology.

Can they write with a pencil and wait for gratification? Can they find happiness without video games, without the internet? Without a constant glut of information…not all of it good?

We’ve created this beast, this child who depends on technology like no other. As I scroll the internet myself and find a huge generation gap, with the millennials bashing the boomers with their snarky phrase of, “ok, boomer”, I have to wonder if we’ve made life better or worse for future generations.

Once again, I plead with you all. Turn off that technology…if only for an hour a day. Send your kids outside. Take their phones and video games, their laptops and televisions away.

There’s a great big world out there. One with hills and trees and imagination. One that they might one day have to live in without power.

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