Scrabble by candlelight
Tuesday, May 16 2006
The other day I took delivery of a new coffee maker, a
Cuisinart Automatic Grind and Brew. It was actually a refurbished model, and, aside from a couple D-Link routers that came with dead power supplies, it was the first time I'd ever received a refurbished product that wasn't as good as new. The double-hulled insulated stainless steel pot wasn't spotlessly clean and actually had a few grounds rattling around in it. The flavor of the coffee coming from this new contraption is good, but for some reason its temperature isn't as scalding as I would prefer.
Last night after Gretchen and I got back from Rosendale she had a hankering for a bath and so did I. Lacking any solar-heated hot water in our 53 gallon tank, we would have been out of luck had we not caved into our addiction to fossil fuels and fired up the boiler. But our lack of willpower was understandable given the forecast, which calls for cloudy skies for the rest of the week.
Tonight while I was in the middle of editing a complicated simulation of a website whose purpose is to promote grainy little simulated experiences, the power winked out and I was plunged into blackness. As always when this happens, I had difficulty feeling my way between the windrows of stuff to the laboratory door. From there I picked my way downstairs to the dining room, where Gretchen had already fired up a kerosene lantern and some candles. It was fitting that she'd been reading my recent Peak Oil musings when our infrastructure failed.
We ended up playing a game of ScrabbleTM by candlelight, each of us taking pseudonymns on the score sheet to reflect recent events or experiences. Mine was "Chicken Little." It ended up being a very rare game in that I defeated Gretchen.
Later we read from issues of the New York Times salvaged from an accumulating pile under a neighbor's delivery box.
The local infrastructure remained out of commission well into the wee hours, though the night wasn't without reminders of human petrochemical demands. The neighbors across the street in That 70s House had their generator running; it kicks in automatically such that their consumption of fossil fuels never falls to zero even for an instant. I suspect their biggest concern is their security system, though other essentials remain active as well. The most useful of these is their wireless internet connection, which in the winter I can access from the laboratory deck. Now that the leaves are out I have to sit in our driveway with the laptop, checking
email, loading up on reading material, or finding out if this blackout is the one that marks the actual end of the grid itself.
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