Editorial: A silver lining to power outages?

Published 12:05 am Thursday, December 22, 2016

Maybe there’s something we can learn about ourselves from the two-straight nights of power outages in Salisbury. Perhaps, surviving a few hours without electricity reveals that we’ve become too dependent on electronic forms of entertainment to fill our time.

When Duke Energy conducted repairs on a transformer this week, it plunged large sections of the city into darkness. About 2,000 residents of areas close to downtown were affected. The outages were scheduled, but many clearly hadn’t been warned. Stop lights didn’t work and there weren’t any police officers to direct traffic. Street lights stopped working in some parts of town. Of course, power to residences was also affected.

The outages likely brought some inconveniences for Salisbury residents. Evening plans were abandoned. Basketball games were canceled. Dinner plans were probably canceled too.

Notably, our commonly used electronic devices were also affected. Cell phones still had reception and could access the internet, but computers, TVs and other devices were suddenly rendered useless.

With a little bit of light, it would have served as a great time to use a book. Here’s another idea: the moments without power were also a time to reengage with our family members. Too often, our conversations include focus around daily minutia.

“How are you?”

“Good”

“How was your day?”

“Fine.”

We should savor moments when there’s time to engage in meaningful conversation with family members. If the time doesn’t get filled with meaningful conversations, simple activities such as board games serve as a nice break from our electronic distractions.

Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday, this time of the year should be one where we focus on reconnecting with our family members. We should aim to engage in meaningful conversations at all times of the year, but during the holiday season we should aim to recommit ourselves to this task, even if it’s family members we don’t particularly like.

Perhaps being faced with two moments where electronics are rendered useless helps us realize what’s really important — family.

Duke Energy gave customers very short notice when it came to the outages, but maybe there’s a silver lining to the black shadow they cast over a portion of the city.

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