I found these notes in an old journal today. They are reflections on what could be considered another type of digital diet. That is, what happens when we can’t use electricity, upon which digital devices depend?

The power went out the other day because of a really hard rainstorm that caused a tree to fall down over the power line at the bottom of the driveway. The tree was huge and rotten, so we think the weight of the water on the leaves finally caused it to fall over.  We couldn’t drive anywhere because the tree was blocking the cars in, so I spent the day at home listening to the rain drip down the chimney.

I made a list of the things that you can and can’t do when the power is out. I found the list interesting because the can/can’t activities didn’t seem to fall into any rational categories, in the sense of one set being things that I prefer to do. For example, when the power is out, you can’t: toast bread, use the electric tea kettle, read at night, use a computer, connect to the internet, vacuum, blend with the blender, use the sewing machine, watch TV. When the power is out you can: kiss, talk, brush your hair, cook on the woodstove, eat a salad, laugh, run, look at the things growing in the forest, go swimming, chop wood, feed the chickens, write with paper and a pen.

(The some what radical, but often interesting) James Howard Kunstler writes about how we tend to think that “the internet will save us” as energy becomes more scarce and if things become unstable socially. Because, we think, using the internet, we would be able to work, share information, stay in touch, etc. without leaving our houses. But, he points out, if “electricity is on the fritz” and is only on a couple of hours a day, or not at all for a week, then that would seriously hamper any thought to continuing a normal life via our computers.

So, that’s some interesting food for thought..