The Great Power Outage of 2018

The power went out in my house 9:30pm Sunday night. It was turned off by PG&E as a precaution due to high winds, and fear it might bring down trees that would hit power lines and start a fire. It happened in many towns all over California. The power stayed off in my town for 22 hours. Everything was closed. No post office. No school. No gas. Nothing was open. The funny thing is, there was no wind around here and the temps were in the 70s. My house had no power and no water. We have a fresh water well and the water is filtered through a pump that runs on electricity.

Was I happy? No. We went to the bigger town, where we shop for food once a week and the power was on,. We bought water, batteries, and non-perishable food because we had no idea how long this would last, or if PG&E plans to do this again.

This would have been a good time to practice patience and go with the flow. I have no control over a utility company’s actions. We are all at their mercy if you think about it. All I can do is be as prepared as possible. So, did I practice patience? I won’t lie. The answer is, mostly no, but I was polite to the cashiers at the stores I shopped at. I was fairly patient waiting in line 10 minutes (which seemed much longer) at the Starbuck’s drive-through with hubby. Normally I don’t do drive-throughs but the parking lot was overflowing with parked cars. I guess lots of people needed their coffee as much as I did.

In the afternoon I sat outside and watched the birds hopping through the leaves looking for food. The sun was warm and it was a nice day…which got my brain asking for the umpteenth time, Why is the power off? Then a helicopter flew over our house, moving along the highway looking for (I’m guessing) downed power lines. It flew over four more times. Every time I saw the chopper, I thought, When is the power coming on?  A couple of times I even cursed at it. Then I would ask myself why I got so annoyed by things I cannot control. The only answer I could think of is because I just do. It’s a habit and habits can be changed. But why is it so hard to do so?

Reading and listening to Buddhist teachings is easy and I get what the teacher is saying. I understand it intellectually. It’s the practicing of the teaching that is so hard for me. I’m such a good Buddhist when things are going well, but shut off my power for an unknown length of time and I’m Miss Crabby. Choosing to be crabby, I create my own suffering, dukkha. I wrote about dukkha in my other post. I suffered because I wanted to be someplace else. Yesterday I suffered because I wanted the electricity turned back on. The true cause of my suffereing was not allowing things to be the way there are. If I’d just let go, I would have been happier (I think).

As the day progressed I gave up my complaining and adjusted to the fact we might go another day without power. I focued my attention on being thankful for what was working. Our refrigerator was still fairly cool and the freezer was OK. I moved a few perishable foods from the frig to the freezer. We don’t eat meat so we didn’t have to worry about that.

I reminded myself that we have a house. We have water and food. The animals have food and water. We are healthy and safe. There are people in Florida who don’t have those things due to the recent hurricane. There are entire communties devastated. People are getting water and MREs from the National Guard.  I bought my food from a grocery store.

Today, I am still thankful. I understand how good I have it. I also understand I am human and I will get pissed off at times. For now, I will let go of yesterday and enjoy today…and all the modern conveniences I take for granted.





2 thoughts on “The Great Power Outage of 2018

  1. Thanks for sharing this story. It’s so easy to forget that electricity really is a modern convenience that has allowed us to be removed from knowing how to be without it, from understanding that it is not the only way to be in the world. That said, I do appreciate having electricity and know that it is what allows me to do my work online! Good lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

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