Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I'm all for new technology.  I love the DVR, flat screen monitors and TVs, cell phones, food processors, etc.  However, and I repeat, however, there are those times (as in a power outage) when one has to get back to low-tech basics.  My land-line telephone went out awhile back.  I found a surprisingly cheap model not too long ago but when I got it home, found it did not have a "speed dial" or memory feature as the old one did.  After my last guests left yesterday I made a hit-and-run trip to town.  It took three stores to find what I needed (batteries not included).  That type of phone just isn't being made anymore.  As I explained to the Nice Lady, I can find the right buttons in the dark when there's no electricity, but it's very difficult to look up the number for PG&E in the telephone book then.  Cell phones will work as long as they've been recharged (note to self:  keep cell phone charged).  There are wireless phones all over the house and I love that convenience, but I'm dead in the water without one direct land line.  Every cook needs a whisk and a box grater when the power goes out.  All those canned goods in the cupboard won't feed anyone if only an electric can opener is available, so I use an old-fashioned hand cranker.  A carpet sweeper or broom will get the house looking tidy when the vacuum cleaner won't run.  We switched out the electric stove top for propane gas after a three- or four-day stint without power and no way to even boil an egg.  I use the coffee maker every day, but keep a coffee pot for emergencies.  One of my wishes when I win the megabucks lottery is a windmill to pump water.  I really appreciate my wood stove in the winter.  My friend Camille has a pellet stove that is efficient for heat, but it requires electricity to run the auger.  Guess who freezes her butt when the power is out during a snow storm; not me.  I once needed to withdraw funds from a bank when their computers were down.  Impossible to believe, but no one in the bank knew how to handwrite a receipt so I could take out some money.  Shade-tree mechanics with a little experience could fix any vehicle engine for years.  Now a computer is required to diagnose a car problem.  Go figure.

As I said, I love new technology and enjoy the "toys" of the new generation.  Total dependence, however, is a grave mistake.  Sometimes one has to revert to the essentials to make it through the day.

Happy New Year!

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