Less power to the people (2)

The other evening we suffered a power cut; not too unusual in these parts. It didn't last long. We swung rapidly into action with candles and torch - and of course our open coal fire lent its warm glow to proceedings. We also have a portable gas stove intended for camping but didn't need to use that, this time. The cut lasted no more than an hour or so but it reminded us of the time, some years ago, when all electrical power disappeared for four whole days.

'Funny', I said, 'Funny how quickly we became used to being without, funny how the conversation between us ratchetted up over those four days, once we had got accustomed to it, both in terms of quantity and of quality, funny how cooking on a little gas cylinder stove and boiling water for tea and coffee over the hot coals assumed a kind of romance.'

'Yes,' she said. 'And you looked out of the window, curtains wide, to see a sky shining with a million stars and you read, instead of gazing on the TV screen and whatsoever junk was on it, and you were somehow able to read that much more  into your book. Best of all the telephone stayed silent.'  

I guess the truth is that we have been indoctrinated, and have gown comfortable with the useof electrical power in whatever promiscuously wasteful ways we fancy right now, here and now this day. In truth we are using it like there is no tomorrow. Is it not, I wonder, about time to consider some kind of lawful economy, even rationing if that's what it takes to make sense of the future, of our future?

Less power to the people? Is that such an awful prospect? Physical comfort is but a minor part of the quality of life. Conflict between comfort and quality - no contest. Really.


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