Power Outage in San Diego

Last night the lights went out…


Apparently there was an outage from South Orange County, CA (which is north of San Diego), through ALL of San Diego, through some of Mexico and some of Arizona.

I remember watching a George Carlin special a while back where he talked about what the world would be like if electricity suddenly disappeared.  No credit cards, no electronic keys would work, elevators, electronically run ANYTHING, prison locks, mental hospital locks – most all digital now or electronic…the picture he painted wasn’t pretty.  

When power disappears, things change in an instant.  The traffic lights go out, so now, every single intersection has to be a 4 way – be nice to one another – intersection.  The gas station pumps don’t work. So all of the people who take for granted that there will be gas whenever they want, suddenly can’t get any.  Electric stoves, microwaves, ovens, hairdryers, the machines at the laundromat, cash registers, refrigerators…ALL useless.

Which brings me to: TECHNOLOGY.

That bittersweet word, technology.  Computers, Cell Phones, MP3 Players, iPads, they will all eventually run out of their battery charge.  You can’t plug them in and recharge them.  You can’t watch tv for the news, but you can run your car to listen to the radio (if you have enough gas to let it just run like that).

I did figure out that I could charge my iPhone off of my remaining laptop battery, and run WiFi off my phone to get my internet to work, which was draining my battery at the same time.  This stroke of genius lasted 30 minutes.

When it grew dark outside, it was darker inside.  I had 6 candles, but could have used 20.  My neighbor let me borrow a headlamp which is what I wrote my thoughts down with (on PAPER!) last night.

Do you know what else happened last night?

I met all of my neighbors.  
For the first time.   

We all sat around under the stars (which we could clearly see) outside and talked.  Shared food and drinks.  Discussed life, religion, and cracked silly jokes.  It seemed like all of San Diego was having one big giant barbecue and hanging out together.  No one was ignoring someone else because they were too busy staring at a screen of some kind.

Everyone had lost power.
We were all “disconnected” from the rest of the world, but in that moment, we were connected.  

I was meeting people, telling them about myself, why I moved here, finding out their stories, discovering what we had in common, making new friends, sharing viewpoints, talking about raw food.


I mean, come on!  A power outage is the perfect time to explain to the ENTIRE WORLD that if we all ate raw fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds and from nature, none of us would have to worry about food supply.  If we knew how to grow our own food, or where to find a fruit tree, or which plants to eat outside…I mean, hello?!  Is there not a more appropriate time to convert everyone to raw food?  I think not. 🙂

It was a great night.  The lights went out at 3:40 in the afternoon and came back on at 10:25pm last night.  I was sad when they came on.  Sure, tripping in the bathroom isn’t fun, but man, camping out in my street with my neighbors all night was a blast!  I’ve been here since the end of January and I can honestly say that last night, sitting outside with my neighbors was the first time I “camped” since I’ve been here and if someone does not go camping with me soon, for real for real, like in a FOREST or a MOUNTAIN I will go by myself, and then my Mom will freak out back in PA, and you don’t want that to happen, so please people, can we go camping?

Sorry, I got sidetracked.  Back to the point.

It was amazing.  That little 6 hour window that caused so much “inconvenience” for some, actually changed my entire perspective.  It reminded me, in a big way, of what life is really about.

We were created for relationships.  For love.  For loving each other.  I don’t believe anyone can truly grow or know themselves until they are interacting with another person.  Sure, you can think you are a certain way, but until you interact, debate, love, argue, care, give your heart away, or love someone more than yourself, you can never really know your own strength…you may never really know who you are.  Other people love us, change us, reflect us back to ourselves and grow with us.  

Life behind a computer screen all day and night?  No thank you.  (Oh the irony of me typing this on my laptop on a Friday night)

Life on a couch in front of a tv all weekend?  No thank you.

Life going from TV to laptop, to cellphone, to iPad to mp3 player to projector to movie screen to even a freaking GPS device.  Does no one ever enjoy getting lost anymore?  An unexpected joy ride around town? I love it.  It forces you to discover new things.  New places…and wrong turns. 😉

So while people panicked, I secretly rejoiced.  When the world that man has made fails, and all you are left with is the world that God has created, all you see is beauty.

Beauty was all I could see last night.
Staring at the stars envisioning a future with no electricity.  
Camping for life.  
Growing food.
The barter system coming back and everyone trading or becoming skilled at something.
Looking out for one another.
Helping one another.
He who has more, giving to those who have less.
Those who have less coming up with ways to contribute as well and everyone working together.

I thought about Jesus.  I thought about Jesus walking the earth and speaking to crowds of people.  He didn’t have the luxury of a Twitter update or a Facebook status to reach thousands at once.  He spoke to individuals and groups of people.
He conversed.  He shared who he was, and everything he was about and he loved his neighbor.  He changed the world – walking place to place.  No phone.  No internet.  No segment on the nightly news.
Just one foot in front of the other.  Forming relationships.  Everywhere he went.  Bringing others together.

How have we gotten so far away from all of this?

How did we get so far away from this amazing beautiful world that God made for us?
We keep creating more and more technology, that we feel “connects” us to everyone, and yet we feel farther and farther apart. 

I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve had dinner with others and I didn’t see a cell phone pop up on the table.

I mean, you all know this as well as I do.  I’m probably preaching to the choir.  But it’s just been on my mind all day. 

So.  Yeah.

I wished I could get back there.  Back to a simpler time.  I realized though, that I can.  There is always a choice.  In the whirling whizzing sound of electrified life, we have a choice to participate, or to go our own way.  Walk a slightly different path.   Maybe say no to some technology, and yes to a family dinner at least once a week.  No to the video game console, and yes to a camping trip.   No to watching reality tv and yes to hiking trails, campfires, acoustic guitars and 5 people who know the words to Sweet Baby James singing together and staring at the stars.  No to a car every day, and maybe yes to a bike ride instead.   No to being scared of saying hello to a stranger on the street, and yes to giving strangers a genuine compliment.

Sure, technology has afforded us many great things.  Atari.  Man on the moon.  The fact that I can call my Mom on the other side of the country, hear her voice, even SEE her on video chat – and tell her I love her, all in an instant.  I can even FLY through the sky because of technology and go see her in just a few hours. 

But when she is in the same room with me, you bet I’m not going to be staring at a tv, a phone, a computer or anything else.  I’m going to be looking at her and talking with her.

Because that’s what’s important.

I’m well aware that I should probably tell everyone to never have less than a half tank of gas, always have extra water, batteries, flashlights, a crank radio or battery radio, battery chargers, bags of rice and beans in their trunk, head lamps, candles, a way to make fire, a pocket knife, portable outdoor oven to heat things, camping gear, a comfy sleeping pad, sleeping bag, tent and a map.  Get used to eating raw fruits and veggies.  Learn how to forage and live off of the land.  Learn how to grow a garden.

I could tell you all of that.  

Last night was just 6 or so hours.  I paint a rosy 6 hour picture.  What if it had been 30 days?  Would people suddenly be not as nice?  Not as giving?  Not as helpful or kind?  

I don’t know.

I like to think that it would somehow still be okay.  But in the event that it might not be – know how to live outside. Know how.  We should all know how.  We weren’t created to be inside all day…wasting our lives away behind one screen or another.

If everyone pretended there was a power outage at least once a week, if not once a month, and reconnected with everyone in person…imagine what kind of world this would be.

Imagine what kind of world we would live in if we all sat down and talked to one another.  Listened.  Shared.

You have the power to make that a reality in your own life.  

As for me, I can’t wait to grab my backpack, put on my hiking shoes, and go exploring with friends.  

When you think about the best times you’ve ever had in your life…were you alone?

Were you?

Have a raw and sexy weekend everyone!  
Keep it real.

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