Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shot In The Dark (Thursday Thirteen #28)

When I was little, I lived in Chicago until we moved about 5 miles north to the suburbs when I was in 7th grade. You wouldn’t think 5 miles would make a difference, but it was surprising to me even as a child.

In Chicago, if the weather was tolerable, everyone was out on their front porch (stoop, actually) in the evening. You walked up and down the block and chatted with your neighbors. I knew everyone’s name on the entire block. All of the kids played together and none of the adults would hesitate to yell at any of the kids if they saw some wrong doing. It was a time of mostly black and white TVs that got five channels if you whacked the side of the box and managed to get the aluminum foil antennas aimed just right.

There were no VCRs. If you missed your show, you missed it. No ipods, no video games and no computers. The other kids and I played games, put on shows, read books, rode our bikes, drew pictures and talked. We had to use our own imaginations and there is a lot of power in that.

When we moved to the ‘burbs, no one was ever outside. I lived in that house for 10 years and only saw my directly across the street neighbors once. There were few other kids on the block other than the one who would many years later become my hubby.

There were no gangways to hide in and share secrets, no graveled alleys to fall off your bike and get a good case of road rash and no neighbors on their front stoops. In fact, there were no front stoops at all. If people were out, they were in their backyards, with real patio furniture and surrounded by privacy fences. I still live in the suburbs and for the most part, it is still like this.

Last week, though, after the storm and the loss of electricity, people started coming outside. I saw some of my neighbors that I haven’t seen in ages. The kids were all running around outside because none of their electronic hypnosis causing devices worked and for a second, I was transported back to a childhood summer evening in Chicago. It was nice.

I’m not much for “roughing it” and truth be told, I would have had a very difficult time going without power for four days, too, which is why we ended up at the hotel for the weekend. The kids, though, started moaning about being bored within 10 minutes of the power outage. I tried to oh, I don’t know, take a shot in the dark and suggest some “no electricity required” options they could try..

Today is Thursday Thirteen...and here's mine...


Thirteen THINGS THAT STILL WORK WITHOUT ELECTRICTY


1. Your minds. Tell stories. Ghost stories, even. Put the flashlight under your chin and make scary faces.

2. Pens and paper. I’m not even sure my kids know how to write. They don’t even teach cursive writing in our schools anymore other than to have the kids practice signing their names? Crazy.

3. Sudoku, Crossword, Search A Word and Logic Puzzle Books. Yes, you think and then you write in them with that stick called a pencil.

4. Books! Chock full of actual words and ideas, not just OMG, WTF, brb and c ya!

5. Scrabble...and yes, I am still on my winning streak!

6. I’m pretty certain that all of those thousands of dollars of saxophones, trumpets, flutes, piccolos and acoustic guitars we own probably still work without having to be plugged in.

7. Lawn chairs. You can actually sit in them and just take a minute to look at the world around you or talk or read...whatever!

8. Your mouth still works without electricity. Have a conversation with somebody!

9. Portable battery operated radios and TVs. I know, it’s roughing it without cable, but that scratchy noise they make really takes me back.

10. Feet. Go take a walk in those $100 Nike shoes I just bought with the removable pedometer chip that you can plug into your Ipod. It will give you something to look forward to when the power comes back.

11. I was still able to operate my bike without electricity. I even pedaled around the neighborhood looking at everyone’s messes.

12. The dog. Oh, I don’t know, since he can’t work the video game clicker, maybe he’d like it if you threw him a ball or something.

13. And, most surprisingly, toilets! Yes, one of my children was hopping up and down. Since they are teenagers, It’s been quite a while since I have asked one of my kids if they had to go potty. The answer I received was yes.

Silly Me: Well, then go.
Child: Mom, we don’t have electricity!
Silly Me: So take a flashlight.
Child: The toilet works without power?

Good Lord. The bulbs in the lamps weren’t the only ones that went out last weekend, I guess.



35 comments:

Amy The Black said...

I know how to rough it! We haven't been out of electric for that long, but we do manage to have fun, too. We have a few extra things we can do during a power outage: Bonfire, look for bugs, go swimming, and go for a drive in the car.

Lori said...

LOL...great list. I would have never thought of that but you're absolutely right. Although, im sure some people wished my mouth ran on electricity so they could turn it off;) Happy TT.

Buck Naked Politics said...

What a GREAT list! Yes, children today are far more technology "dependent" than we were.

kaykayzowie said...

I went without electricity once because I forgot to pay my light bill and I lit some candles and took a bubble bath. It was really nice! Probably need to do that more often...take a candle-lit bubble bath that is! It is amazing how we get so caught up in the world of technology.

Vixen said...

Hah, #13 killed me! Great list!

katherine. said...

makes you think...doesn't it...too funny about the toilet...

The Rock Chick said...

amy: fun! I really wanted to go swimming which is why I was excited to go to the water park at the hotel. We dont have a pool at our house and our neighborhood pool closed for the summer in the beginning of August. Too soon!

lori: nah, not me..I love talkers!!

buck naked: thank you. I admit, I'm pretty technology dependent myself, but at least I am able to think of things to do without it. That's a good thing!

kaykay-yes, you should take bubble baths more often. I love them-I take my tabloid magazines in there with me because it really doesn't matter if they get wet! I like candles, too!! (just don't wait til you forget to pay your light bill!) LOL

vixen: I can't remember the last time I laughed that hard.

katherine..it definitely made me think my kids need a break from the gadgets. They are fogging up their minds!

Karina said...

"The toilet works without power?" OMG, I'm laughing so much I'm crying! LOVE IT!

Great list.

The Rock Chick said...

karina..if it wasn't so funny, it would almost be frightening, no? LOL

Starrlight said...

That was great! I love the dark. Ghost stories rock =)

Nap Warden said...

Clever list! I just found your blog...Luv it! Happy TT!

The Rock Chick said...

starrlight: they actually scare me, but my kids are much braver than I in the horror movie/ story regard!!

nap: welcome and thank you for the compliment! Hope to see you again soon!

FRIGGA said...

Good post - I mean we did have video games when I was a kid, but most of play time was spent outside with other kids and no batteries involved :-)

The Rock Chick said...

frigga-I think there were some video game systems when I was younger, too. Atari, maybe? I don't know...nobody I know had one :)

pussreboots said...

Phonographs also work without electricity. But I suppose not everyone grows up in a home with a parent who is an antique dealer like I did. **grin** Happy TT.

Gail Martin said...

Great list! Number 13 is too funny.

Happy TT!

MamaLee said...

GREAT list! Happy TT!

The Rock Chick said...

pussreboots: oh, I guess they do. Don't they work with a hand crank or something? That's even before my time and I'm "older than dirt" according to another TT i visited!

Gail: thank you! Happy TT!

You too, Mamalee!!

Kathy said...

Living up in the country, power outages happen regularly. It is amazing how dependent we are on the stuff! And about that toilet? when you're on a well you get only a few flushes before a pump is needed to bring up more from the well. We learned that the hard way....happy TT13!

Malcolm: said...

It's amazing how dependent many of us are on technology. Your TT reminds me of a story I heard on the radio the other day. A man said that he and some of his colleagues were at a hotel on a business trip. They went to MapQuest to get directions to where they needed to go. When they found out that they didn't have a printer to print the directions, they were all in a panic. Almost an hour later, one of them realized that they could simply write the directions on a piece of paper!

The Rock Chick said...

kathy: oh we are city of Chicago people. You can flush as many times as you like, power or no power :)

malcolm: OMG! LOL..THAT is funny! What company is this exactly? My daughter will be needing a job in a couple of years :)

julia said...

We had a hurricane four years ago that knocked out power for almost a week. My husband had just earned a transitor radio from work as a surprise carrot-type incentive, and we were never so grateful as when we heard that scratchy tuning sound, and then the comforting sound of the DJ's voice. Our neighborhood got very sociable during that week, but I have to say it wasn't a hurricane-aftermath phenomenon only. We've got a great street and great neighbors.

Jessica Morris said...

I grew up in the country - no tv at all, dial up internet... it was pretty much ourselves, the neighbor kids and our imaginations when we wanted something to do... good times :) I loved this list so much!!

When power use to go out we'd (my siblings and I) would always want to roast marshmellows over candle light. I don't know why - it's not like if the power were on we'd be roasting marshmellows... it was just something we always wanted, and my parents always let us!

Sorry I haven't been commenting here much - I have been reading your blog as I nurse the munchkin, so typing has been a challenge!

Damien Riley said...

Very creative and fun TT! Good job.

Robin said...

I live in an urban suburb (i.e. small city) on the 9th floor, so I live in dread of power failures, but on a theoretical level I love your list.

Christine said...

As a family we used to play cards and Scrabble. I completely agree, my 4yo has a wild imagination, and my other children can't understand the use of imagination. I'm thinking she's going to be the author of the family with all the stories she can tell. I should write them down.

Wonderful list.

allrileyedup said...

That toilet conversation is hilarious!

And I say pencil be damned! Do your crosswords with a pen.

Jenny McB said...

As Kathy said above, the toilet thing here is big b/c of the well and the electric pump.

Our fallback when we lose power more often than I like..is to play charades. We did it years ago during a snowstorm and even now they want to play that when the power goes off.

Kathleen Marie said...

Living in the mountains we do have to rough it sometimes. The electricity goes off whenever there is a storm. I keep candles, hot cocoa, a bottle of wine, popcorn and eggs on hand. I can easily cook in the fireplace. Years ago when I lived in the city I kept a small habache' on hand for cooking.

Love the old memories... A great post.

Have a great weekend.

MissMeliss said...

SCRABBLE! I love scrabble. And pens and ink, and hey, you can also use the expensive Nike's for walking the dog (iPod optional).

Great list!

Kendra said...

i'm way behind on responding to TT comments.... what a fun list though! i always love when you mention scrabble b/c that's a fav boardgame of mine. i always think "i need to get that game soon" but still haven't!

Nicholas said...

Very good list, and oh so true!

Di said...

My first hurricane was the big one...Andrew...on our on year anniversary in 1992 in Miami. And since then I have experienced numerous hurricanes, two blizzards (one dumped 18 inches of snow overnight on snowplow-less Raleigh, NC and snowed us in for almost two weeks) and an ice storm...and each of these has resulted in meeting new friends, becoming closer to old friends and remembering there is life without electricity.

When four large trees are lying criss-crossed over your cul-de-sac and someone comes out saying, "We have a generator. Want coffee????" You would be amazed at the insta-friendships.

Crystal said...

Great list! The toilet thing is hilarious. :) I'm so dependent on the internet I think I'd lose my mind if we lost power for long.

This Eclectic Life said...

Hilarious list! I love it, Jessica. You are so right on. Actually, I think we'd all do well to "lose power" once a week or so, so we could "gain power" over our imaginations. Good going, as always.