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Monday, July 4, 2005

Itís fitting, I suppose, that on a day when the nation celebrates its independence, it gets hammered home to me just how dependent I am. As much as I like to think of myself as independent, Iíd have a hard time getting by on my own. Iím no mountain man, no pioneer. The world I live in has made me depend on forces and circumstances way beyond my own control.

The point hit hard today when my power went out early this morning. Not only did I have no electricity, but there was also no running water in this house. I couldnít shave or shower or flush. If Iíd been a real mountain man, that wouldnít have bothered me. As a child of the technological age whoís only pretending to live in the wilderness, I was blindsided by my own dependence.

Another thing I depend on is my health, and those little red pills that help me breathe. They havenít been working well lately (and Iím stuck between doctors). Last night was the worst Iíve had. I expect to have trouble breathing, and to suffer from serious drainage problems, especially this time of year when the grasses are high and dry and waving in the wind. But what I went through last night was a new experience for me.

There were times during the night when I found myself gasping for breath. I couldnít breathe through my nose, and something was making it so that I couldnít swallow. Thatís a frightening combination, because the only way I could unclog my throat was to hold my breath and wait for the breathing to stop. At least one time I thought I would pass out, or worse.

So I stayed home today, forgoing the celebrations and illuminations and the like. I nursed myself as much as possible, and I waited patiently for the electricity to deliver me back to the real world. It was off for at least three and a half hours; it went out before I got out of bed, so I couldnít really tell how long the outage lasted. Iím sure it seemed longer than it was, although I got a lot of reading done that wouldnít have been possible if Iíd had the computer and the TV to distract me.




4 July 2005

The Old Oak on the Fourth.



Sad to say, on this day of dependence, I was totally on my own, at least physically. I had moral support from the family, for which Iím grateful. And I had the prerecorded voice at the end of the utility companyís help line. Do you know their menus are all voice activated now? To report an outage, they tell you to speak ďoutages,Ē and then when you do you get, ďIím sorry, we didnít understand your response.Ē Thatís the kind of nonsense weíre dependent upon these days.




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Stuff

When a game is already tied 7-7 in the fourth inning, by the time your electricity is back on and your satellite receiver has powered up, you can look at it one of two ways. You can think that youíve missed a lot of action, or you can think that youíve been spared watching a pretty bad baseball game. Luckily (or unluckily), there was still a lot of action to come the rest of the way, although the result was another Giant loss, 11-10, to the Reds.

Recent recommendations can be found on the links page.


One year ago: Illuminations
"What's the Fourth of July without a little smoke, a little noise, and a lot of colored lights shooting off in all directions?"

Two years ago: Fourth
"We are sometimes so pleased with ourselves and satisfied with the way things are that we forget that liberty and justice for all means something. Those are not just words. They're our guiding principles. They're the goals we still haven't quite reached."

Four years ago: A Declaration
"The courage of Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin, however imperfectly realized, should inspire those oppressed by despots and tyrants for as long as freedom for all remains a goal instead of a fact."


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