What happens when there is a lack of ability to be able to use your mobile phone, access the internet, or have electrical power? I am not speaking of a break from technology or a planned vacation; I am speaking of your ability to use technology, hot water, lights, everything….ripped from your mitts like a momma bear taking back her cub.
During the week the news and weather stated that we were going to have some early snow. The color on the meteorological map corresponded two to four inches and should have not been a big deal, even though this is unusual to have this early a snowfall. As the week drew to an end the amounts stayed the same for my area, but did increase to four to six inches, still not a big deal for a li
felong New Englander. I have never given credence to the hype given to storms in New Hampshire and New England because it was never as bad as they say it was. The news and weather channels need to keep viewers and use storms to promote and retain viewers. The “Stormwatch” on the local news always errors on the heavy side of a snow fall, they have, and add to the “Chicken Little” or “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!” attitude and broadcast it as much as possible in the name of public service. But I do not pay attention because they are usually wrong. Well a broken clock is correct twice a day and so was the fear mongering weather man.
We ended up with over a foot of snow, and not the fluffy cute stuff, it is the wet heavy dangerous stuff. The kind of heavy that takes down century old trees, which in turn take down power lines, which in turn kill my ability to watch a hockey game, change my fantasy football team, find out some kind of shenanigans that my friends got into, or look at pictures of my friends dog.
Can you imagine my disbelief of when things just went dark? It was not so bad because, they will get it fixed tomorrow, right? I went to bed, woke up, still no power. But I have homework to complete with a paper to write and a blog to post and a midterm to finish.
We have to come up with a plan. The wife got ice to put in the fridge and freezer, I did anything low tech (pen and paper) I could to finish my midterm exam. For a shower I thought I would go to the gym, but they do not have power. For the internet, I would go to Panera, the next town over, to use their free Wi-Fi connection. Good plan. With the ice and the wife all set, I forged my way into the world. What I found was a SNOWPOCALYPSE!
One road was closed, all houses were dark. Any traffic lights I encountered were black. I thought I would be able to go to 7-11 for a Sunday paper and Mountain Dew. Never in my life have I seen the dreadful sight of an unopened 7-11, this storm was so powerful it killed 7-11.
I passed three different gas stations and multiple businesses that fell to the same fate as the blacked out 7-11. I thought I was making progress when I saw a functioning traffic light, but next to the light was another casualty of this lethal storm, Dunkin Donuts, this is bad, really bad. I continued on the journey to the area of Panera. What I met there was the rest of the population of southern NH. Traffic was a mess, people were cutting others off, and no one was being nice. I actually drove past the turn I had to make because of traffic. I wish I could say that it was an easy u turn to get back on track. So I just went forward to another gas station that was open to get the paper. They had none. I went to a grocery store to get a paper, they had none but went a step further to state that the paper was never delivered to them to be able to sell, another casualty to the storm. This meant I have not been able to have any outside contact with the world to find out what is going on. I could not email, phone, text, tweet, instant message, or “like” my friends Halloween costume. Not being able to play Scrabble was killing me, oh and my homework completion is important too.
I made it to Panera, and so did a lot of others, whose gyms did not have power either. I could not make it through the door, but my phone started working. I was able to check in on my sister, I asked are you ok and do you have internet? She stated yes she is ok and no on the internet. I explained that I did not want to tie up her line in this snow emergency and hung up.
I sat in my car and checked out my phone and found an opening to enter Panera. I got in found a seat, no power outlet though, I need power. So I sat and waited, just like when I get bad seats to a ball game and then you see one that is a little better, you move. It has to be quick and you may not stay so you have to be mobile. I was able to better my seating to a cushy chair with an outlet by the fire place. The Snowpocalypse was not going to wreck my day any further.
Throughout the process of between no power and power, I did find myself in a bit of panic. Some was because as a home owner and the purchaser of a full fridge of groceries the day before, you have to worry some when weather happens. There was some trauma because I really did expect to be able to have a full Saturday and Sunday to complete the school work that I had. But I do have to admit that there were/are some scary feelings relating to not being able to check my phone for new tweets and status updates. Not being able to watch in almost real time friends posting new and interesting things. Not being able to hold my phone and laptop as a security blanket or good luck charm made me feel uncomfortable. I do think that from time to time we have to disconnect from technology and do other stuff. I do think that there should be some planning and letting people know that you may be off the grid for a while but not to worry because it’s only temporary. But I was not prepared for this storm or the loss of TV, radio, phone, or internet, exacerbated by no available news papers and by having the same Snowpocalypse happen to a lot of other people also. So I guess I just have to suck it up and deal with it.
Update: I did eventually get my power back, after 5 days without. It was a long 5 days, at home I usually check my phone, and have my laptop open and felt like I was missing something with out being able to connect to the world. Even though I was able to get short connections at Panera and at school, SNHU, it was not the same as being able to connect when I wanted. I found this picture on Facebook. It shows a picture of the affected Northeast blackout area.