The Power of No Power
Contributor: Casie Caldwell, Old Lake Highlands
My reflections on how our community came together after a terrifying “rain bomb”
It’s been over three weeks since the “rain bomb” disaster hit Dallas, Texas and I’m ready for the next one.
Do I want another storm with 70mph winds that completely uprooted trees, crushed cars and homes, and shut down electricity for four days?
But after reading an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News titled, “Dear Electricity: Sorry I took you for granted”, I began to wonder if we’ve given Mr. Electricity too much power.
In a world that increasingly relies on technology, the absence of any electricity got me thinking about our digital addictions – social media in particular.
As awareness around the dangers of our online addictions increase, where links have been made between social media and depression, I can’t help but look at my own platforms – to my Facebook and Instagram “friends” that saturate my feeds and think ‘how many of us really know each other?’ Most of us don’t even have each other’s cell phone number, which makes me wonder what kind of connection we really have. Are we actually friends, or are we mutual pawns to ease each other’s boredom? Is the intimacy we share a charade to fill some unsaid void, or does it really exist? Is our use of social media merely an exercise in external validation? Afterall, someone, somewhere will offer the assurances you seek if you look hard enough, right?
On Sunday, June 9th, when all hell broke loose and we were without phones, TV, and the internet, we all looked up for a minute. We went outside to assess the damage. We asked how can we help? We met new neighbors. We cared for the elderly. We talked to strangers. We even saved some bees.
During the outage, my wife and I were fortunate enough to be able to stay with family in Richardson. There, we all gathered around the table to enjoy “Caldwell Nachos,” which, for those unfamiliar with my family, is a meal we ate together every Sunday night growing up. Alongside culinary favorites, we shared stories, laughed and most importantly, reconnected. After that, we played boardgames and learned new skills, like how to play Stratego with my nephew. He won.
Then Monday night came, and my Mom made another Caldwell favorite before the power returned and signaled the time for us to pack up and go home. However, before we did, I overheard my Dad asking, “can we do this again tomorrow?”
Connection. It’s important – even to my introverted father. It highlighted that in the current society we live in, where online facades replace the value of real, human connection, we’re missing something vital.
I’ve often wondered what would happen if The Walking Dead became a reality, or even The Day After Tomorrow. Would it really be as bad as depicted?
I think I know now.
The way our community showed up for each other last weekend gives me hope.
The lack of power gave us strength. A rain bomb disaster brought us together. And I for one am ready for the next one, if that’s what it takes.