9:30 a.m.: We're on the tail end of Hurricane Ian, but it's still raining. My weather app says the rain should stop in a few hours. And the power is still on, so we're rather fortunate. I'll just take the day off and work on a few projects around the house.
9:45: People are texting to make sure we're OK. I send a screenshot of the weather map and tell them how we made it through without any problems. I don't know why everyone's so worried. I don't want to seem smug, especially since some of my friends are without power or their houses are flooded. We've still got power, the fridge is full, and we've got a camp stove and propane in the highly unlikely event that—oh $#&! The power's out!
9:46: Don't panic! Don't panic! Just because I can't watch Netflix doesn't mean we're in danger. Just breathe. Breathe. Good, calm and relaxed. Calm and relaxed. This could be fun. I've always wanted to try off-grid living and now's my chance. I mean, this is just like how our ancestors did it, right? Off-grid living means going without a few luxuries once in a while, and those people seem happy. Besides, this is only temporary. The electricity should come back on a-a-a-a-any minute now.
10:03: Ow, ow, ow, cramp! Cramp in my leg! I can't stay curled in the fetal position that long.
11:30: I just remembered I can still watch Netflix on my phone. Except. . . oh crap, the wifi is out, too. That makes sense, I guess. No electricity, so no modem, so no wifi. Man, what I wouldn't give for one of those Jackery batteries. I could use it to power important things. Like my wifi router. And the margarita blender. I'll just check online to see how much they cost.
11:31: Stupid wifi.
11:32: I'd better conserve power, just in case. I charged my portable batteries yesterday, so I can just charge my phone with one of them. I imagine this is how our ancestors lived. They didn't have a ready supply of power, so I imagine they had to charge their electronics by hand.
12:15 p.m.: I had an epiphany! I can use the cellular data on my phone, and I have unlimited minutes. I'll watch a few YouTube videos about off-grid living to take my mind off things.
12:18: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! The cellular towers are down! Just like our ancestors. How did they even survive? I mean, I grew up in the '70s and '80s, but that was a lifetime ago. I've forgotten all my survival skills learned on the mean streets of suburban Indiana.
12:30: Maybe I'll just read a book. I can't find my Kindle because it's dark in my office. Wait, my phone has a flashlight. A-ha! I found my Kindle. This must be how our ancestors felt when they hunted down a big game animal. I put my foot on my Kindle and bellow my victory.
1:00: I should make some lunch. I can microwave—nope. Maybe I could heat up some—nope. Or I could grill—dammit! I'll just have a sandwich.
3:30: Uh-oh, my Kindle battery is at 35%. And I only have one extra battery to spare. Do I use it to charge up my Kindle or my portable speaker? These are the same kinds of life-or-death decisions our ancestors must have made.
4:15: My wife says it's time to make dinner. Is she crazy? We're not that old. Is she preparing the Senior Blue Plate special?
4:16: She says she'll use the camp stove outside while it's still light out. She said it will take a while, and she doesn't want it to get too dark. I guess that makes sense.
5:30: That was pretty good. Chicken noodle stew on the camp stove. I asked her if she wanted a bonnet, but she didn't think that was funny. My genius often goes unrecognized.
7:30: It's too dark to read my regular book, and my Kindle battery is at 12%. Stupid portable speaker, wasting my battery pack. Our ancestors sure had it rough.
8:15: It's getting dark. Is it bedtime yet? Four hours to go? What the hell am I going to do in the dark for four hours? No, not that; the kids are still awake.
8:30: It has to have been an hour, maybe two. What time is—15 minutes?? Is this what it was like for our ancestors? Stupid ancestors, no wonder they're all dead. They died of boredom. What the hell am I supposed to do? Talk about my feelings? Gross.
8:35: I suppose I can start writing this week's column. I'll have to do it by candlelight, so I can see the keyboard.
9:38: The power's back on! There's still enough power in my speaker left to play the "Hallelujah Chorus." We survived 12 hours with no electricity whatsoever. We lived rough, rationed our meager supplies, and cooked outdoors. Just like our ancestors. This must be what living by your wits and courage felt like.
Photo credit: Erik Deckers. That's the fence in my backyard that got knocked over by Hurricane Ian on Thursday morning.
Kindle version here or the paperback version here.