treat me like a mushroom. The power went off about twenty-four hours ago. I know the power companies have been struggling with the falling ice and trees, bad roads and darkness most of each day. They announced on the radio that the Legislature lost power for about two hours and went home.
Well, stay there folks. I am no longer ready for living off the grid, not like I once was. I keep hoping the power will come back on and I can find out how wrong O'Reilly is about whatever. Or so I can recharge my laptop, or have a hot meal. Last night we had sandwiches, then this morning cold cereal, then by lunch my wife was warming something on warming candles (you know the kind one uses at a dinner party) --- then I remembered I had a Coleman gasoline burner (from those roam around paratrooper days before 1994) and she had purchased a propane burner for just this kind of emergency (this has happened before just not recently). So I went out and got them from the storage. Filled the burner with gasoline, tried to read the instructions in Korean for the propane one - not going to happen. She sees what I am doing and warns me about the danger of explosions (happened to her brother-in-law) but she pulls out a newer burner, and it has instructions in English. I start it and we start heating water for coffee, and seaweed soup for the evening meal. We will survive.
One of the stories I read long ago, was about a survival situation and the people made a spear first, later they remembered they knew how to make a bow and arrow and did so. I had always thought everyone should have made the leap to bow and arrows first - but unless one has been crafting basic bows and arrows, flaking flint arrowheads and such - it doesn't come automatically right when you need it. Other things come first, the other thing is waiting for rescue -- how many times do you hear of someone dying alone somewhere - no one knows they are missing, has any idea where they are, and they never light up a tree to call for help, they keep trying their cell phone or iPad and they aren't in range - but it is what we are prepared for and will do in an emergency.
You see two or three young men bothering a woman - what do you do? Call 911, take a video picture, pull your gun and shoot the three or at least threaten them? What do you do? Well, I am betting you will do your best but be frozen by culture and convention - unless the woman is related to you, or you have thought about it and practiced a response. Survival isn't automatic, one has to know the exits, has to be aware of threats, be prepared to struggle for air, the last of the water, for the fertile females or the last of the seed and breeding animals. It isn't just all the regulation and laws that strangle our natural wariness, it is lack of danger - ease of life - the certainty of civilization. We didn't invent it, but it has always surrounded us in some kind of comfort, only when we go off on military adventures and see the savage hidden just under our skin, do we really want to get home and that hot shower.