You may have heard that we had a wee storm here earlier this week. These images from the New York Times tell part of the story. There is another one to tell.
Ten or twelve years ago, before the instantaneous world of WiFi and most smartphones, I spent a random hour after dinner on the world wide web on the one desktop computer we had at home. Mostly I just played Tetris and chatted with designers on a landscape forum.
Flash flood forward to the aftermath of Sandy, I am without even that dial-up access and have to leave the house with electronics in hand. I journey to be with others for a few hours who also have portable techno habits but no way to satisfy them at home. The upside of all of this is that things that I put off so I could email, text or Tweet last week have moved forward to fill the void of time that the lack of instantaneous access has left.
I have mended everything in the ‘needs a button’ pile, cleaned my house, read a fantastic book (The Rules of Civility), read the actual newspaper (instead of on my iPad) and taken walks much longer than I did last week. My neighborhood has come alive with people out on the street, neighbors talking to each other, and boys raising money for the Red Cross by selling brownies and hot coffee.
Yes, I’m writing this at the local Starbucks and am glad for the WiFi, the camaraderie and access to information. I’m also sad that I know that as soon as all is restored we’ll go back to our frenetic need for instant gratification and too many hours in front of a screen. The sense of community and neighborliness will once again disappear behind closed doors.