What happens when we’re forced to unplug

We are really dependent on electricity. How long do you think you could go without power?

We are really dependent on electricity.

How long do you think you could go without power?

You’ll get a taste of life before electricity if you live in the Cowichan Lake area on June 26.

BC Hydro has planned a power outage for 11 hours that day.

Having time to prepare will make things go more smoothly for most people, but not having power available is still likely to prove something of a shock.

And imagine what it would be like if it was to last longer — particularly if you weren’t sure when you’d next be able to turn the lights back on.

It’s something to consider in this earthquake-prone zone we call home.

Some people these days can’t go five minutes without looking at their smartphone — sending or receiving texts, checking their email, checking Facebook or Twitter.

But all of that falls apart if you can’t charge the battery.

Ditto with your desktop or laptop computer.

Then there’s the refrigerator and freezer. All that food won’t survive an extended outage very long before you start to see just why they tell you to refrigerate it in the first place.

The television won’t work, and your radio will only if you’ve got an adequate supply of batteries, or a crank handle model.

Do you have anything in your house that will tell you the time if you can’t plug it in at some point?

Can you cook anything without electricity? Boil water?

Many people rely on electricity for heat, and some need it to access or drain water.

We take for granted that the electric current will be there when we want to tap into it.

But it’s not all frustration when the power goes out.

Ever notice how quiet it gets? We don’t even realize how much ambient noise, created by our various electrical devices, we live with every day, never noticing it until it’s suddenly gone.

Everything slows down when the power goes out. People begin to unplug, because they have no other choice.

It’s interesting to be in a commercial area during a power outage. Some shops simply cannot operate without power, as everything is ruled by computer. But what also tends to happen is that people start to head out into the street, looking for stimulation, a connection in this newly quieted world. They start to talk to each other.

While inevitably this doesn’t last forever, and most of us wouldn’t want it to (we like our conveniences, after all), that sense of connection can be valuable to hold onto after the lights flicker back on.