The electricity went out today. After an eerie hour the rain started to fall, heavy & without mercy. It reminded me of monsoon season in the Philippines. The primitive electricity grid there was not strong enough to hold up to even the smallest hint of a wind storm; so black outs happened quite often.
I like black outs. I always have. Everyone comes out from their respective holes, almost certainly awakened from their uninterrupted stream of electricity fuelled entertainment, and joins together to conquer whatever has caused them to unplug from their dream state.
When I stayed with my grandparents during blackout season in the Philippines, we would come together at the plastic dining room table, light candles and listen to podcasts that I had downloaded during times of internet plenty. Grandma would always comment–perhaps comment is too small–recant stories that the new-fangled radio had reminded her to recant. I’d pause the radio–because you can do that now in 2013–and we’d wander down her tangent until we’d exhaust the topic, and I’d turn on the podcast again.
We’d never quite spend as much quality time together as we did when the power was out.
I had a boyfriend once, that always wished for something catastrophic to happen, like a hurricane or War of the Worlds style alien attack. He said he liked circumstances that forced everyone to work together to overcome a common problem. He argued that there is a heightened level of camaraderie during these time that we could all benefit from. He’d seek out situations of conflict in our regular life hoping to dive in a rally people tackle the problem at hand. Undoubtedly, he’d get strangely excited during lightning storms & tornado warnings.
At the time, I was disgusted by his desire to see pain inflicted on people on others in hopes that we would bond together. I thought he had some sort of hero complex. Now, I appreciate this insight into our collective tendencies. I see common tragedies all around us that are prime opportunities for us to bond together and overcome.
Today, I challenge us to notice the symbolic power outages around the world and look for the rallying points where people are coming together to overcome. Chances are, if you look hard enough you can find a group of people playing Yahtzee by candlelight.