What’s Not to Like?
Man is such an adaptable critter, woman too. I have prattled on about our move up here on the ridge, and the challenges that face us, being off the grid. There was a time, not too terribly long ago, that if you told me I had to go out into the driving rain, every fifteen minutes to push buttons to get electricity, I would have sniveled up a storm. Now I think, “All I have to do to get electricity, is push a few buttons every fifteen minutes? What’s not to like?”
It’s all in my mind. Whining used to come so naturally to me, because I listened to it all my life. Only we didn’t call it whining, we called it making conversation. Papa would sit at the table, having one of his two nightly cocktails, and rehash the events of the day. He worked long hours in a mammoth metal shop, doing heli-arch welding for a steel company. He was a specialist in his field, but his field still took place in an oven in the summer, and an icebox in the winter.
He went to work when he was sick, because he wanted to save his sick days for going fishing. He maintained that if he was sick anyway, he might as well go to work and get paid for it. But he voiced his opinions nightly, to Mama, as I peeled potatoes in the background, forgotten for a change, by virtue of the fact that I was actually quiet.
I learned how to make sure that every injustice, every daily atrocity that occurred in the workplace, every perceived egotistical action, on the part of superiors, was dutifully reported. There was a lot to learn.
For years, Annie had a xeroxed flyer magnetted to the refrigerator, with the word “whining” enclosed in a circle, and a bar drawn through it, clearly a warning that sniveling would not be tolerated. Only I didn’t know how to identify it, when I stared into the mirror.
As an off-shoot of my panic disorder therapy, I learned the concept of “distorted thinking.” This refers to patterns of thought that are not in synch with reality. These are patterns that people form because of faulty logic, but the patterns become so ingrained in our personalities, that we do them automatically.
Catastrophizing is one distorted thought process that I used to employ a lot. This involves assuming that any possible incident that could happen, during the course of any day, will take the worst possible avenue available. It tends to put a damper on things.
Snow is in the forecast? “The highways will be a bear.”
Snow is in the forecast in town? “The students will be dangling from the chandeliers.”
Snow is forecast for the next three days? “We’ll be snowed in for a week.”
It’s easy to get into that mode.
Fast forward to now. No-power blues? There was a time when just the nature of unexpected power-failure (off the grid, there is no such thing as “expected” power-failure) was such, that it would send me into a tailspin, that would result in a bout of whining at the adversities of living where we do. Trying to confuse me, by reminding me that I chose this venue, is fruitless.
Now, the first thing I do, is ask myself if it is a matter of life and death, what is the worst that can happen, and then I let a little time go by. I contemplate the options, investigate accordingly, and make plans based on all factors. Now, the first thing I note is the fact that the big generator, after doing one of its surging/floundering episodes, is sounding uncharacteristically healthy. As long as it is humming along, we do have full electricity, just not much petrol. Since we have to take the little genny to Willits, we can get gasoline then.
The second thing to note is that I still can access fifteen minutes of power at a time by pushing buttons. That is inconvenient, but is still enough time to get the little tasks done. And finally, by going into town to the shop, Annie can plug phones in, and I can plug my laptop in to readily available electricity, in order to charge them up. Then lack of power need not stop forward progress.
Is it easy? Not so much. Is it doable? Pretty much.
Is it any different than being in town and losing PG&E for four days? Not so much. Isn’t it nice that PG&E is not part of the equation? Pretty much.
Six of one-half a dozen of the other. “What’s not to like?”