No Lights? No Problem! Irene Reminds Us Of The Importance of Human Interaction
Ok, Ok… I know we’re all sick of Irene themed blog posts. It was (and is) the “theme de jour” for blogs and news sites, but as many continue sit in powerless homes (myself included up until last night), I couldn’t help but reflect on a positive that came out of the recent storm. So I hope you’ll indulge me for just a moment…
On Monday evening of this week, just 24 hours after Hurricane Irene stormed through New York and Connecticut (pun intended), I got in my car after wrapping up at the office and proceeded home. But as I drove, I immediately noticed that something was a bit off. Now it wasn’t quite a “glitch in the matrix” moment, but clearly something was was different.
Then it hit me. There were an unusually large number of people out and about in the town of Fairfield, CT (where CJP has an office). Kids were running and playing, teens were biking, adults walking their dogs and shopping in the town center. Generally, people were outside in groups talking and interacting. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s common to see people out when I leave work, but there were far more people out than is usually commonplace. And then it struck me. Everyone was outside because they, like me, did not have power and rather than sit inside their air conditioned, electronic filled homes, decided to enjoy a beautiful August evening outside.
Seeing parents and children walking together, friends (old and maybe new) laughing in conversation, and generally increased human interaction, was refreshing to say the least. It reminded me that maybe a little power loss every now and again wouldn’t be such a bad thing. We all get so lost in our day-to-day and the electronic conveniences that consume our lives that we often forget the beauty (and importance) of real conversation. With no TVs, phones, Playstations® and computers to distract us, we all remembered the importance of dialog. We went outside to talk to our neighbors; we made small talk with strangers; and got together with friends who were in similar situations. Quite simply we remembered what it means to engage and interact face-to-face with others.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love modern technology as much as the next guy. But I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t something refreshing about being without power these last few days. If nothing else, it has served as a great reminder that our society is predicated upon human interaction. Less we forget that “social networking” is an evolution of real networking and interaction. And despite their best efforts, these are not voids that can be filled by Facebook and Twitter (as my colleague Susan discussed yesterday).
So while the lights will soon come on for the masses, I do hope this small, positive lesson from Irene will not fade to darkness.