The President announced yesterday that due to the mounting energy crisis, we would all have to start rationing electricity. I think the idea was that they would wean us off electricity, but something must have gone terribly wrong. Today, when we woke up, there was no electric current running anywhere. And I do mean anywhere: not in our township, county, or even, as far as I understand it, the larger cities.
That’s OK; I’m sure they’ll get things up and running soon. I could use a vacation from electricity anyway. I just have to make sure I eat all the stuff that’s in the fridge before it goes bad.
We realized yesterday that we can’t really use our cell phones to talk to anyone since none of the cell towers are working. That certainly put a damper on our communications. And since there were no electric currents running through any of our wires, even the land lines weren’t working. We have been relying on our neighbor for news; he has been driving around the township, checking up on people.
The other annoying thing is that our stove is electric. I didn’t think about how much of a problem it would be until I tried to cook up all the perishables. We just ate everything cold. It was pretty gross.
Apparently the hospital is working on backup generators, but I’m not sure how long that’s going to last. I’m just happy nobody has started looting.
My husband decided to look at the gas line for a possible source for heating food. We do have an alternate stove in our living room: it’s a kitchy old-timey wood-burning stove that’s been modified to run on gas, just like our fireplace. Apparently, the gas still works, so now I’m cooking with gas. Thank goodness for hot meals!
The police came around today. They wanted to remind us to lock our doors and not go outside at night. Apparently there has been some looting a couple of towns over. I’m not too worried; our neighborhood is pretty safe.
We keep hearing rumors of looting going on in the neighboring towns. One thing I do have to say has been a great thing about this electricity outage is that we have started talking to our neighbors. I mean, until now I haven’t known my neighbors’ names, their personalities, or what they do! I think I like most of them. I’m still not crazy about the rat dog across the street.
The postman came by today with a newsletter from the White House. Apparently this is how they are getting out “essential” information these days. I read it, but it’s just a lot of nonsense, really, about how we shouldn’t panic and that everything will be back to normal soon. I’m not sure how much I believe it.
It was a sleepless night last night. It was really hot, and of course the air conditioner doesn’t work. We can’t even use the ceiling fans. All the windows were open and the covers were off, but it didn’t make a difference. I was also beginning to worry about that newsletter we got from the government. Is there a reason we should panic?
We decided to try to go to the bank yesterday. They turned us away. The looters had gotten there before us, and all the money was gone.
I also realized that our pantry was starting to get a little empty. Even though it’s the beginning of summer, I think there’s plenty of time and opportunity to start growing things. I went through my old seed packets to see what I should start with.
My husband has been busy. Since we have no money on hand, we’re trying to figure out ways for us to either barter services or make cash on our own. The trouble is, everyone else is in the same boat. The kids across the street have started making muffins to sell every morning, and the smells that come out of that house are spectacular.
My husband, on the other hand, has been using his knowledge of electronic circuitry to good use. “We may not have access to the grid anymore,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean the laws of physics have suddenly disappeared.” He has now modified our exercise bike so that it will power one of his pinball games.
Yesterday, the kids across the street came over to try out our new self-propelled pinball games. One of the kids got on the bike to power it, while the other one played the game, and they took turns. They loved it, and they absolutely wanted more.
We charged them $2 or 2 muffins to play for one hour.
My husband has four working pinball machines and two that need some repair, but I think the idea is that we may be able to create a little arcade here in the house, just to make some money.
We got a letter from some friends at the Renaissance Faire today. Letters have become so precious nowadays; it’s our only connection with the outside world. The postman is the most popular man in town, especially since he’s the only guy left allowed to have gas in his car. (Don’t tell anyone, but we siphoned the gas from our cars a while ago and we’re keeping it in jugs in the garage. You never know when you might need it).
Anyway, our friends have invited us to come live with them on the fairgrounds. They want to form a community of people who all know and trust each other. Apparently there have been many incidents of rape and looting in Philadelphia, and many of our friends have already begun making the pilgrimage out to Lancaster County, where the Amish have lived without electricity for centuries.
Things certainly have changed. Our arcade is the hit of the neighborhood, but our notoriety has also gotten us some unwanted attention from thieves. My husband has been talking about fortifying the house, whatever that means.
I harvested quite a few vegetables this week, so we’ll have more bartering leverage, at least for a while. I also think it’s time to start pickling and canning the extra food. Winter is going to be really difficult.
Last night, we got hit. The looters took everything. We were sleeping upstairs when they broke in the windows and took as much as they could carry: food and anything wooden or metal, which included many of the components of the pinball setup. We knew they were there; we awoke while they were still in the house. But neither of us had a firearm and we knew that these guys were packing. We stayed in the bedroom, holding each other.
There’s almost nothing left. We talked it over this morning, and we decided that it was time for us to move on. Our gas, hidden in jugs in the garage, is still here, but every last scrap of food is gone. I still have two spinning wheels, and although both of them are wooden, the looters seem to have overlooked them in their zeal to pick apart the pinball machines.
We have decided it’s time to take our friends up on their offer and make the long trip to the Renaissance Faire. I know they have livestock there; that will be helpful. I can definitely spin wool and knit what I spin. That’ll be useful out there too.
We’re going to leave tonight, so I need to harvest the rest of the plants in the garden, whether or not they are ripe, because we don’t know when our next meal might be.
You wake up and the entire electrical system has collapsed beyond repair. Describe how the world changes. How it changes you and how you adjust in the new society with no electricity.