Darkness: It’s good for you

By Mike Butler
February 8, 2001

by Mike Butler
Perspectives Editor

Monday’s snowfall and campus-wide blackout served not only to cancel my evening class that night, it also served as a test of one’s self.

I remember spending a good chunk of the afternoon just looking outside the window at the snow-covered trees. I was truly captivated by the cold, serene beauty of the setting right outside my window. Usually I find the world ugly and disgusting, but on this day I found myself self entranced by the pure, pristine setting.

Of course, I didn’t spend the entire day just looking out the window. I indulged in some of my normal activities: surfing the internet, watching TV, and playing video games. These are things I do every day.

That daily routine was brought to a screeching halt at around 5 p.m. when everything with a plug ceased to continue working.

No electricity. No power. No way to watch TV, cook on the electric stove, check your e-mail or challenge someone to a rousing game of Killer Instinct. Modern technology had been rendered useless. The sun was already beginning its descent in the sky and so the small amount of illumination it provided would soon give way to the flickering of candles. Aside from the flashlights, we were in the dark ages.

There was no panic, even though I tried in vain to create a “Lord of the Flies” nation in the apartments like I usually do in the midst of incapacitating weather. The only real problem was that no one could cook anything. The cafeteria had closed, as reported by brave souls that made the trek from the apartments to Founders Hall. But there was no cannibalism, much to my dismay as I had worked out the order in which my apartment-mates and I would devour one another. Luckily, a friend in a big four-wheel drive truck arrived and, after digging him a path to a parking spot, was able to make a trip to WaWa and the beer distributor for provisions.

And so the rest of the night was spent with drinks and friends in the dim dark world that was the apartments (except for the emergency lights in the hallway but there were no couches or chairs out there). We were without the modern distractions of the world. It was just me, my friends, and a bathtub packed with beer and snow. There was no crazy anarchy. No out-of-control drunk frenzies that our administration thinks we have at the drop of bottle cap. It was a mellow time for all that could enjoy what the blackout really was: technological deprivation

Once the power came back on after 11p.m., we were jolted back into our modern world. We could cook again, but that was the only good thing about the power coming back on.

What the hell is this article about? It is a testament to those who made the most out of the power outage. Most of us are so hooked on our computers and video games and TV’s. It’s almost an addiction. But during the blackout, those who had a great time proved that we are not slaves to technology, that we are not defined by our electronic possessions. Those who didn’t, well, there’s still hope for you yet.

I had a great time during the blackout. As much as I depend on technology, I was pleased to find out that I don’t need it as much as I thought I did. Others came to that same conclusion as well and that conclusion could only have been reached by having Mother Nature imposing it on us.

It’s not often that you get a positive article from me, so enjoy it while it lasts. And savor this rare line from me as well: We’re not as bad as we or anyone else thinks we are.

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Mike Butler

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