WaPo has a front page (print edition) feature on how families in the Metro area are coping without electricity. Mainly, it’s portrayed as a wonderful experience:

In a post-Isabel world, kids can’t “LOL” — instant-message-speak for laughing out loud — so they really laugh out loud. They can’t watch videos of Bob building, so they try the real thing with Legos and blocks. And instead of pushing buttons to score points, they actually kick balls and throw passes.

With thousands in the Washington region still without electrical power, families are devising ways to cope with life devoid of television, computers and video games. Some call it creative parenting. Others call it what it used to be like to be a kid.

Like, 20 years ago.

I suspect, however, that reactions like this are rare indeed:

In Mary Ann Troyano’s Annandale community Friday night, neighbors shared and grilled thawed meats, boys played football and Troyano’s husband started a fire. Around 9 p.m., the lights came on, and people cheered in the streets. Troyano groaned.

“Our good time is ruined,” the mother of three said. “We were all sitting around finally enjoying our family. I could have handled one more night. Now they want to watch TV, play Nintendo.”

My guess is most people were relieved to have their power back.

At times like this, experts say many families discover just how technology-addicted they are. Even when the power returns, the lessons often linger.

“For a lot of people, being forced to live without TV for a few days becomes the springboard to living without it,” said Frank Vespe, executive director of the TV-Turnoff Network, a Washington nonprofit group that encourages less television viewing. “It opens their eyes to the choices they are not making.”

Indeed. Although having the ability to choose is nice. Personally, I’m a fan of electicity.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture, Science & Technology, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bryan C says:

    If it takes a hurricane to make a familiy sit down and enjoy each other’s company then the parents might want to consider some corrective action. My grandmother’s power has been off since Thursday night, and oddly enough she misses having running water, refrigeration, and those other trappings of our technology-addicted society.