Monday, August 2, 2010

Blog the Sixth: The Way Things Were

We had a power outage the other night - (two, actually; the second at around 1:30 wasn't nearly as much fun) - and had to resort to lighting candles all over the house.  We've always  talked about getting a generator for such instances, and in many ways - especially with small children in the winter - a generator makes good sense.  Still, there was a pleasant nostalgia  in having the entire house lit up by only candlelight.

Madison loved it.  The idea of having the house lit only by flickering, orange-yellow candlelight seemed very mysterious and strange to her.  It reminded me of whenever we ran out of power as kid.

Now, a little reality check - as a parent, running out of power means a lot of things that certainly AREN'T romantic or nostalgic:  not being able to flush the toilet or make dinner (luckily we'd brought home pizza that night), no air conditioners for our five and under kids in very stuffy, warm rooms.  

And, as any parent of autistic children, or children who are on the Autism Disorder Spectrum will tell you, ANY disruption of the schedule throws life into chaos.  Hence how UNFUN it was when the power went back out around 1:30 and we both awoke to our children screaming.

Still, I remembered what it was like when the power had gone out, (before I became such a reading-freak, because then no light = no books = sulky me), Mom and Dad light all the candles and we had to play board games, go outside and catch fireflies, or light a campfire (of course, keeping in mind that back then I was probably lamenting the missed A-Team and Knight Rider episodes, also).  I also thought it ironic  - and sorta sad -  that as soon as the power came back on, Abby and I bolted for Facebook to post our "power outage" status.

Made me think of other things  that have changed, and surprisingly enough I thought of video stores and going to the video stores for the "Friday Night Rental". 

Now, I'm sure we've all used and benefited from the wonder of Netflix or Time Warner Cable Direct Video, and again - as the parent of a five and three old, it IS pretty convenient for "date night" to put the kids to bed, put the monkey bread in the oven, and just order a movie or pop in the DVD we ordered online and was delivered to our door.


Still.  One of the things I miss most is wandering the video store with Abby, either before or after dinner, checking out movies for Friday night.   Scoping out some of the worst, cheesiest movies we'd never rent otherwise, or discovering that lost gem in the Drama or Action section that featured actors we'd never heard of and that again, had we not spent the time browsing among rows and rows of VHS (later DVD) racks, we'd never have found.

I don't know about other towns, but the video rental places are dying here.  They're shutting down, consolidating, liquidating stock like crazy.    Again, it'll be awhile before the kids are old enough and Abby and I can hit video stores again, this time browsing for us and family...but will there even BE video stores by then?

Not to be crotchety and cynical, but people are slowly drawing more and more in on themselves, becoming  voluntary shut-ins.  We have everything we need at the touch of a button...so why leave the house?  (and yes, the irony of blogging this isn't lost on me) In every apocalyptic, dystopian novel I can think of - Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind - this was an integral aspect of these "brave new worlds". 

Not sure where I'm going with this.  I sometimes just wonder how badly we - I - have been hampered and handicapped by all the new technologies and conveniences.  And, like I said...used book stores (and yes, I do love Amazon, but lately I've been going back to used book stores).  Video rental stores, pizza and Chinese places that DON'T deliver....these places you could wander, dawdle, browse...they're going away.  

I'm not so sure that's a good thing.