Yesterday I had an interesting experience, one that I’ve not had before. I woke up because my hotel room had become very warm. I rolled over and looked at the clock, which was black. No neon numbers glowing in the dark, just black. After a few minutes, it dawned on me that the power was out. The hotel has VOIP (voice over internet phones) that require, you guessed it, electricity. So no phone, I wandered out into the hallway where the emergency lighting had turned on and the hallway was dimly light. I thought about going down to the lobby, but then I realized, elevators probably need electricity too! Nineteen floors were just too many to walk down since there were no emergency signals or sirens.
I went back into my room, where the window shades are operated exclusively with switches (similar to light switches), the air-conditioning, TVs, clocks, lights, Bose radio, coffee maker, tea-pot, fridge, and phone all require electricity. Sitting in the silence was a little awkward and it made me think – I can’t remember the last time I sat quietly without any electronics or noise.
A little while later all the lights flashed back on (I imagined what someone who was still asleep would think if all the lights suddenly turned on) and the air came back on too. I decided to go to breakfast and noticed the hallway was still dimly lit. The elevators were working and I did notice that there was an old-fashioned phone in the hallway near the elevators (good to know in case of emergencies). In the restaurant only about ½ of the lights were back on, but breakfast was still being served and it was in fact, quite busy.
I have no idea why the lights went out, but it gave me a moment to reflect on what it means to be disconnected from the world – electronically. It was nice. And now…here I am, reconnected and blogging.