The Power of Silence

Few events spark greater terror in the hearts of suburbanites than the loss of that precious stream of electrons that sustains nearly every aspect of our modern lives. Around here, we’re perhaps more sensitive since it seems we live through these outages pretty much twice a year like clockwork and the grid’s resilience never seems to improve much.

The pain is perhaps most acute among the younger, more intensely connected set, to whom an outage means being cast adrift on a sea of unbearable boredom — no Internet, no video games. But adults aren’t immune: Many of our neighbors likely experienced feelings of withdrawal from their Sunday night HBO and the season premiere of “Mad Men.”

But you see where this is going: There’s a bright side to everything. In this case, silence, or something pretty close to it. Waking up Monday and Tuesday morning not to the incessant rumble of the air conditioners, early morning catch-up laundry or the TV, but to the more peaceful bird songs and impatient rustlings of our dog, Riptide.

The light also contributes. The previous night’s frustration at trying to read by battery lamp is replaced by actual rest because we gave up and went to sleep early. And, instead of the alarm’s grating buzz, we are awakened by the gently receding darkness being patiently replaced by the morning light.

At night, there is also the opportunity after dinner to just hang out and chat with the wife and the kids, something that’s harder to do when all parties are lured away by our various electronic diversions. It’s nice.

And oh, there’s this: zero dollars heading in Pepco’s direction.

Editor’s Note: Bill Burke is a Quince Orchard Park resident.