When the lights (and the computer) go out…

Well, I was blogging the other day about dependence on appliances.  Yesterday I got an even bigger jolt about our dependence.  The electricity went out.  At work.  I was in the middle of drafting a report for my boss.  Luckily I had been saving throughout – I heard a fellow down the hall let out a yell about an entire morning’s work just having disappeared.  So I sat in my dark office to see if the lights would flick back on.  When they hadn’t in a couple of minutes I ran to the kitchenette and made a fresh cuppa tea while the water in the kettle was still hot.  (We all have our priorities.)

We learned that the power was out not only at our plant, but in most of the town and the surrounding villages.  Power company told us they were doing everything possible to get the power back up, but they couldn’t give us a time frame.  So.  I looked at my list of tasks and tried to figure out what I could do.

  • Status report.  Need the computer, it’s a google doc.
  • 2 documents to translate.  They’re in the computer, I don’t have hard copies.
  • Several meetings to set or move.  Calendar’s in the computer.
  • Catch up on documentation.  See translations.
  • Summarize orders and expense reports.  Ditto.
  • HR approvals to summarize for boss.  Online.
  • Edit, print and bind 2 presentations for customers.  No computer or printer.
  • Fill out and send travel requests to main office.  Nope.
  • Prepare notices for all departments (standardized form).  Need computer, printer, and laminator.  Nope.
  • Fax hotel reservations / receive confirmations.   No fax.  And they require something in writing for our business discount, so phoning won’t do it.
  • Charge my cell phone.  Nope.
  • Scan letters of invitation and send to China.  Nope and nope.

Meanwhile, it’s still dark and starting to get colder.  Obviously, no heating system.  At least I have an outside window for a little light, many don’t.  I also have some decorative candles, which I offer to colleagues in darker offices.

I made a few phone calls, sorted the mail, and then started to organize my filing cabinets.  (Couldn’t make new labels, the template’s in the computer, but I could at least start getting things in order.)

We decided to go to lunch early.  The dining room is the only place in the plant with a generator, so the room was light and warm and the food was hot – very important.  Tried to stretch the half hour…

In all, we were without power for a couple of hours.  Not too bad.  But very frustrating.  Does it say something about us that everything we do is somehow connected to a source of power outside our control?  We have become so accustomed to the ease of electronically charting our day we become paralyzed without access.  On the other hand, I don’t want to forego that ease and go back to the way it once was.  I don’t want to be again buried under paper – bad for the environment and bad for my clutter threshold (at least at work….home clutter is another matter….ahem).

I need to ask my boss for a laptop with a battery….chances are slim to none that I’ll get one, but I can try.

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One Response to “When the lights (and the computer) go out…”

  1. ρουλέτα Says:

    Great idea, thanks for this tip!

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