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Lights out

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The power goes out and the stir-crazy settles after just five minutes in this silence. No television, no lights, no computer, and no way of powering any technology. The boredom of having our easy-access entertainment taken away leaves us wandering around in the dark trying to figure out what to do. How do we modern folk survive such a catastrophe?

In the wake of the recent major power outage, caused by winds with a high of 100 km/h, nearly 21,800 people were left in the dark. It’s clear not everyone is prepared for when electricity goes out. Many of us have become accustomed to having simple things readily available.

After the power goes out, the first thing a person needs to do is find some candles or flashlights — you still need to be able to see even when the light switches don’t work. Be careful not to use your phone flashlight too long; the battery of a cell phone doesn’t last forever.

Once you’ve found some sort of light source, let’s focus on retaining your sanity. It’s good to have some activities to do that don’t require electricity, such as some card games to play with friends and family or a good book to read. And if you still have to finish that 4,000-word essay, you can write it out by hand until the power comes back.

At some point, depending on how long the power outage is, you’re going to get hungry and need food. If you have a camping stove or barbecue, your life isn’t going to change that much at all. However, for the rest of us who don’t have either of those items, creativity is needed. During a power outage you can’t stare into the fridge for five minutes figuring out what you want to eat. Instead think about what will go bad first. Milk will go bad first, so it’s best to make use of it by having a bowl of cereal. If you have any raw meat, you should probably move that to the freezer, just in case. Many of the options you’ll be left with are things like making a salad or a sandwich. After the perishables, stick to granola bars and other cabinet snacks you might take camping. Camping food is a lot like what you can eat during a power outage since in both scenarios you don’t have electricity, generally.

Let’s say it has been 24 hours and the power has still yet to turn back on. This is where the dry shampoo and deodorant come into play. A hot shower isn’t an option since you will have a limited amount of hot water available, if any. Greasy hair? Dry shampoo is a quick fix. Smelling gross? Get a wet hand towel and wipe yourself down and use deodorant. Just because the power is gone doesn’t mean we need to smell like we’ve been holed up in a dark room for a day.

These are all simple ways of making the best of a power outage. A power outage can be a good time if you are prepared and remember that there are other things outside of those little devices we spend so much of our time on. During the next power outage, kick back, read a book, and watch the other people go crazy trying to find somewhere to charge their phone.

Image: Cory Jensen/The Cascade

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