The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Oh Thank Heaven

…it’s 7-11

Sometimes it seems like the things that we rely on most in life are the very things that keep us from enjoying it. Granted we think we are enjoying it, but it really just keeps us too busy so that we are entertained and/or productive, but not fulfilled.

So I’m out teaching a class for my company in Boston, and within 1 hour of class starting all of the electricity went out. Normally I wouldn’t mind this too much and would welcome the break, but as it is I’m supposed to be teaching a class by using power point presentations on a computer to display how to use a program that can only be run by a computer that requires electricity. As you can see this does produce a bit of a problem when the electricity goes out. I thought I found a workaround though and hooked everything up to the back-up power supply, but then that went out too. I tried writing a few things on the board, but you can’t really write a new display for every new window that they might see. It really helped me to appreciate our computers and how much information is packed into such a small space. Programs today are amazingly efficient and give users more power than they can ever really fully utilize. But the Achilles Heel is that all computers need power and without it, all of the handy features are as useless as boobs at a gay bar.

It was kinda funny cause I really didn’t know what to do. How can I really teach them anything? Should I just cancel the class? Would I need to refund them for not being able to teach? We found a few solutions (which involved 15 people hovering around the 1 laptop in the room and me being on my knees trying to read upside down on an LCD display) and it made me realize how great these people really are. They could have been punks and just said, “No, if you can’t do it right, then don’t do it at all.” Instead they were very considerate and tried their best to learn what was possible in that environment. For this being Boston, I’m really impressed at how nice everybody is that I meet (plus I’m getting a really cool accent!).

The lack of electricity really reminded me about who people really are. It seems like I all too often isolate myself in an electrically charged force field. My iPod keeps people from talking to me on plane flights, my internet lets me be a lurker on friends’ blogs (like most of you are), the news keeps us from having to talk to people in our area, radio prevents us from whistling our own tunes… Granted each of these components is great in its own respect if used properly, but electricity does really serve to make us harder working…and the more you work, the less you interact.

Today when the electricity went out and it reminded me of a time when that happened at A&M. It was seriously one of the most memorable moments of my college career. At first people got really upset and wanted to be able to continue what they were doing, many people in labs were upset that they weren’t like Jesus (they didn’t ‘save’). Then classes started to wonder if they would ever get power. Finally around noon word got out that a big slice of Texas was without power and would be for the day. Classes were cancelled, a slew of bleary-eyed grad students slowly stepped outside into the sun. People wandered aimlessly, not really knowing what they would do. Slowly people just kinda meandered and found whatever entertained them most. People were finally relaxed. They realized there was nothing that they could do that was school related, so they just spent time together. The student center was filled with people just chatting with one another, residents came out of dorms to sing and play guitars, sports fields filled up with Frisbee players, and I realized that life without electricity really isn’t that bad. Take away our power and people slow down, stop to think, stop to spend time with those around them, and almost everybody I knew (even those that lost papers) were happier because the power had gone out. Me, I just tooled around, walked to various people’s houses, pondered on things that I hadn’t had time to do before, hung out with friends that needed to be seen, just enjoyed the people and things around me.

Then for some reason the power came back on, and the roaring sound of work came rushing back towards me. No more excuse to enjoy life, just a desire to get more done before I had more work assigned…and that’s the way it still goes.

1 comment:

Michael Ward said...

Of course, it's easy for us average, healthy people to enjoy a period without power. But for others, such as police, firefighters, hospital patients, etc. a day without power is probably not as enjoyable.

Certainly they have back-up generators that will kick on during such an event, but that they have generators at all is a testament to the necessity that harnessed electicity plays in our lives.

Though we may enjoy the respite from the low hum of A/Cs, TVs, and other appliances, we enjoy it with the subconscious knowledge that should we be in a situation that would require an electric current, one would be waiting for us.