Letters from the Lunar Outpost

Honour and shame from no condition rise; Act well your part, there all the honour lies.
- Pope, English Poet, Critic, and Translator (1688-1744)

So the power just went out where I’m at, the streets are dark and all I have is the remaining charge on my laptop. Consider this the modern day form of scrawling out some random musings written by candlelight then.

We lost power a little after 11pm at night, which is strange for So. Cal., because while we’re quite used to a handful of blackouts each year during the heat of the summer months, normally you only get the blackouts when everyone’s air conditioning is cranked with the temperatures reaching triple digits around noon or a few hours later. It’s really kind of weird for a blackout like this to happen in the middle of the night. You look outside and you may as well be out in the middle of nowhere, the streetlights are out and the only light visible is a half-moon, which just so happens to be an angry blood red tonight.

People who have been hit by major disasters and have been powerless and without water for days are saying, you don’t know the meaning of being deprived and they’re right, but tonight I did discover that if I had my choice between the two, I’ll take those afternoon outages over the nighttime outage any time.

book by candlelight

Thank goodness my laptop had a charge otherwise I would be going nuts right now not having some sort of electronic gadget either in my hands or playing in the background. I guess if I had nowhere else to turn, I could break out with a candle or two and crack open a book off the shelves, but this power outage really is making me aware of how addicted I have become to the constant connection to and chatter from my electronic devices.

Let me take this opportunity to drop some advice on you. If you’re dating someone, say you’re in a new relationship, and they like to sleep with the TV on and that’s something you’ve never really done, trust me on this – nip it in the bud and demand that that TV does indeed go off at some point. Put it on the sleep timer if you have to. Don’t give into your significant other on this. I can tell you this because I did give in long ago and now when the power went out I couldn’t believe the horror I had at the thought of how long I would have to lie there sleepless, tossing and turning with no television to lull me to sleep.

I love my wife, but if you allow your significant other to have their way, after about a month of sleeping with the TV on, you too will become completely dependent on having that damn television going on all night so you can sleep as well. I think sleeping with the television also robs your dreams of their freedom and creativity, too. Think about it, how great can the quality of your dreams be when they’re interwoven with people pitching some lame products on an infomercial at 3am?

Tbe more I think about it, this whole addiction to electricity and electronic devices is really a sick sort of enslavement we’ve foisted upon ourselves. I used to think how fun it would be to pass a law that shuts down all cell phone access for one day out of the year and then just sit back and watch all the teenagers and all the rest of everyone else just completely just completely freaking out jonesing for their devices like a bunch of junkies in hardcore withdrawals. Now I realize maybe I’m not all that far off from the rest of this technologically addicted society.

It makes me want to go all Henry David Thoreau and swear off everything and retreat into the woods. Here’s where I should probably make one final admission though, even as much as I knew the book was hailed as one of the all-time great American classics, as a teenager, try as I might, I never could drag myself more than a quarter of the pages of Walden.

Ah heck, if I couldn’t even make it through Walden, maybe a life like the one Thoreau wrote of, a life immersed in nature and completely removed from the hustle and bustle and the daily grind, maybe that’s not such a life worth living after all. It’s got me to thinking though, there’s probably an episode of Survivorman or Man vs. Wild or Naked and Alone that I’m missing right now as I finish this post.

Then again, while those shows are pretty cool, maybe I should give Thoreau another try as an adult. And damn all this technology to hell, I am going to make a vow to spend at least a week or two each year completely unplugged from everything. That’s right! Now could someone please fix the damn power?

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Team of Rivals
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