Recently, the weather has been acting up and in some cases, the weather was so bad it cut out the power in certain regions and communities. Power outages seem to be the new social enemy as many people depend on the merits of electricity. But where does it come from, a second grader might ask an unknowing parent. How do you explain where electricity comes from, when trying to explain using “the birds and the bees” language just doesn’t seem to cut the cake.
Let’s see now, first, there was one of the founders of the USA running around in a violent thunderstorm with a kite attached to a key, just to prove that metal conducts electricity. Then, the next thing you know, your wood stove is replaced and indoor plumbing with indoor lights become the latest rage.
Then some dude named Nikola Tesla showed up and did amazing things with the forces of nature, even creating the world’s first million-watt transmitter, which could send radio signals clear around the world. In fact, the man was literally crackling with lightning bolts shooting out from gigantic glass orbs and huge transformer-type equipment, much like the stuff that brought Dr. Frankenstein’s monster back to life. His genius, suddenly recognized by the powers at hand, went on to build huge generating stations, most notably, the one at Niagara Falls. The next thing you know, AC Delco is formed and then, dams go up everywhere in the USA, blocking off majestic rivers. Then before you know it, everyone’s doing it, damming this and damning that.
After going through an amazing change in our lives as Eeyou, from living off the land and then moving into the living room in a few generations and within the lifespan of your average Baby Boomer, we cannot live without the magic switch it seems. I go to work and the lights dimmed then surge brightly, before settling down. Suddenly, the power is off and using only the cellphone glow to get around, I’m back in a life without electricity.
With nowhere to go but home, we discover that cuddling together generates heat and energy. The big pot of tea is still hot and then the chill sets in. No Facebook or Internet, no telephone (back in the day, before electric telephones, the phone would still ring, no matter what), no television and no electric stove. For awhile, we worry about the refrigerator and freezer, but soon forget about it since the microwave doesn’t work anyway. By habit, light switches are turned on and off… more blankets are called for and heat from the candles are welcomed.
For my generation, electricity wasn’t always around and we witnessed the rapid transition from fire to electricity to wireless Internet. And with each new invention that changed our lives, the more we came to rely on electricity for getting around and for basic survival. Soon, we will die without electricity, unless the old ways aren’t retained. Got a wood stove in the basement, no problem. Got a propane stove to cook our food outdoors, no problem. But, then the electric generator starts up and the television and satellite system are back on and the Simpsons tell us not to worry.