Things you can’t do during a power outage if you lack a generator and a mobile device:

  • listen to music
  • listen to the radio
  • process photos
  • work on a podcast
  • post to a blog
  • post to Twitter
  • visit Facebook
  • tend to qarrtsiluni submissions
  • read or answer email
  • revise poems, none of which have a paper backup
  • call or take calls on Skype
  • do laundry
  • cook
  • make tea or coffee
  • run the tap
  • flush the toilet
  • tell the time

Things you can do during a power outage:

  • read a book
  • read a magazine
  • weed the garden
  • write with pen and paper
  • weed the garden some more
  • take pictures
  • go for a walk
  • gather herbs for drying
  • take a nap
  • drink a beer

I am trying to lead an unexciting life and failing miserably. I give thanks to the power company for its periodic lapses, reminding me how far I have yet to go.

Written with pen and paper, 10 August 2011

Posted in

Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. (o) Drink one for me, Dave. You can draw a picture, too.

    I’ve been practicing not taking my computer home with me when I leave the studio. Yes, I do have a mobile smartphone now, so email follows me around, but I’m finding that this is a welcome change in my life. When I go home, I cook, drink some wine, practice the piano, draw, knit, talk to my husband, go for walks in the park, water the plants or tend the community garden, take a bath instead of a shower. When I get up in the morning the first thing I do isn’t to turn on the computer. Where it creates problems for me is that I’ve gotten addicted to writing on the computer – word processing/instant editing is definitely a great invention and now intertwined with my writing-brain. But rearranging my schedule to accommodate a computer-less evening has been good for me in other ways. It also saves my back: I got really sick of lugging the laptop in my backpack on my bike.


    1. Drawing! Yes, I should try that next time.

      Thanks for the comment. You do make owning a smartphone sound very atractive indeed.


  2. Having said all that, I hope for an end to your power outages. It drives me nuts when we have them!


    1. It’s pretty frustrating. Usually takes me ten to fifteen minutes to adjust and accept my new powerlessness.


  3. Great list of what we CAN do, including Beth’s additions, reminding us of the simpler life.

    But, you can’t flush the toilet in a power outage?? You must have an electric pump for your water system? The worst is not having home heating or hot water in winter; why is there no manual switch to turn on the furnace and boiler?


    1. Well, you can flush your toilet with what’s in the tank, and it will probably refill. But yes, electric pump for the well. In winter outages, I fire up the woodstove to stay warm.


  4. There wasn’t a storm but there must be something bigger happening…friends in Pine Grove Mills have had no land line (Verizon) for almost a week. Make the best of it.


  5. It must be over or you wouldn’t have posted this, yes?


    1. Yes. And thankfully, unlike your friends, our phone/internet line wasn’t affected, because with Verizon workers on strike, we might have to wait a while for a fix.


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