As I pulled into my parking space after being at work on Monday, all I wanted to do was take a nap in front of the air conditioner.
I had not really slept all that well over the weekend and my body cried out for some solid sleep time.After getting out of my car, I was informed by a family member of one of my neighbors that the power was out and wouldn't be back on until 5:30.Considering that it was 4:50, I didn't think anything of it and went upstairs to claim my nap regardless.My husband must have left the air conditioning on after leaving for work because the house was not nearly as warm as I expected and I grabbed a pillow and made myself comfortable on the couch.The sound of my own snoring woke me up around 6 o'clock and a quick glance around the room told me that the power was still not back on.I knew my always hungry teenager would soon be ravenous if I didn't scare up some dinner rather quickly.Cooking on the grill would have been a wonderful option if I had some meat that was defrosted and ready to be cooked.(I still am microwave-free.)I decided that it was best to venture out to find a store with power and to check on my mom since my house phones are cordless and operate off a base that needs to be plugged in to an electrical outlet and because cell reception in my home is hit or miss.Immediately upon leaving the house, I noticed something wonderful.Everyone was outside.It was as if Lansford had come out of hibernation and suddenly come to life.People were taking walks and walking their dogs.Porches were put to good use along with outdoor rocking chairs.I spotted my children and teens out and about actually talking and interacting face to face instead of face to electronic device.As I drove around town in search of sustenance I was so amazed to see all of the smiling and friendly faces.It was the way small towns used to be, and power outage or not, it was good.Admittedly, I felt a little disappointment at not being able to check in with family and friends on Facebook as I do every day, but I took the advantage of the situation and ordered some Chinese food, which my daughter and I shared with my mother as we sat on her front porch and just talked.It felt wonderful not to be distracted by the phone, TV, computer or any electronic device.It was beautiful to see neighbors talking to neighbors and passers-by; truly connecting with other human beings.It's the way it should be, and somewhere along the line, we have lost that.Perhaps we should have power outages more often.The next day, as I pondered that same notion, I came across a commercial or promotional video (online, of course) put out by Dixie brand.It was called #DarkForDinner and the idea was to pick one day, Sunday in this case, to enjoy a meal with family or friends sans any type of electronic distraction.As stated on the Dixie.com website, "Phones are the number one distraction at dinnertime. We get it. The Internet is awesome, but so are the people around our tables. Even our weird families. That's why we're putting down our devices and going #DarkFor Dinner. Join us and see what it means to be more here."To break things down even further, Dixie.com gives step-by-step instructions for those who may not remember what it is like to be connected to a human versus a device:How to go #DarkForDinner1) Turn your social feeds dark." (It then asks you to post one of three downloadable images to let your friends know you will not be available. Downloadable reasons given for going dark include: "To debate life's most ridiculous questions"; "To reconnect with my family. Even the weird ones"; and "To find out secrets about my friends."2) Put your devices away (in a drawer, in another room, under a boulder) and enjoy dinner with your friends and family.3) Come back online and share a moment from your #DarkForDinner experience."One such moment shared from the experience was "Just played an epic game of "Never-Have-I-Ever" with my parents. Scarred for life. #DarkForDinner."I love this idea, although it's sad that connecting with family and friends over the dinner table has had to be reinvented as an idea.In any event, I hope that I am not the only one who observed and appreciated the human experience that occurred as a result of a power outage.I hope, even more, that we all will purposefully make those moments happen more and more as we disengage ourselves from our devices and reconnect to the humans around us.Devices are replaceable; people are not.