Editor's Note: Rip-roaring storms tore through the Twin Cities last Saturday night, taking out power to half a million good Minnesotan folk, myself included. I wrote this while passing the time away in my neighborhood coffee shop with power, but no internet. In other words, I wrote this while roughing it.
It's amazing how much I rely on modern technology and how often I take it for granted.
I'm writing this in Hour 13 of no power. It went out at 8:30 last night and I found myself waking every few hours to see if the ceiling fan in my room had finally started humming along. No such luck.
In the almost 20 years that I've lived in this house, the longest the power has ever been out was right around 16 hours. Once. Last year. We're closing in on a record here.
Most of the time, it's off for an annoying three or four hours, but not usually long enough to warrant a trip to my local coffee shop for hot coffee and working outlets.
Which is where I am right now and wouldn't you know it? They have working lights and hot coffee, but the wifi is on the fritz. So now what?
I should add that Dan and the kids are away for a few days, dropping Aidan off at a conference in Chicago where she will remain for two weeks. So to add insult to injury, I'm dealing with this situation all by myself. (Imagine that!) But with how plugged in kids are, maybe it's a blessing in disguise.
There's no judgment in that last sentence. I am as plugged in as anyone. The computer is as ubiquitous to my day as air. When I look at it factually, there are so many positives, really. I make my living with it. It has allowed me to earn an income and also be able to see my kids off every morning and greet them (or more likely pick them up in my car from school) every day. That fact alone makes it hard for me to ever condemn my plugged-in life. That alone makes me deeply grateful for what technology has allowed me to do.
I have made some of the truest friends I have ever known thanks to online message boards. I'm talking hide-a-body type of friends.
I have seen things online that have rocked my soul to its core. Things that have inspired me to ridiculous heights. Things that have made me laugh until I could not breathe.
So as I sit here at The Coffee Grounds, waiting for my iPhone to charge in full, I realize just how thankful I am to live in this plugged in world. I could be deluded but mostly I see how it has enhanced my life and for that I'm grateful.
I also can't remember the last time I sat down to write anything while not plugged in with images at the ready, while staring at a blank blog editor screen.
I guess roughing it with an iPad at 50% power is not so bad after all.
Being without power for 24 hours is nothing. I know this, but I cannot help but think of what disaster victims must go through. And by 'cannot help but think,' I really mean I cannot truly imagine. In this spirit, people are still putting their lives back together in so many places in our country, and in the world at large, and today, if you have the means and the motivation, I encourage you to make a donation to help. I also encourage you to share any relief links in your comments today. We can all spread the gratitude around, together.