My Temporary Return to the Stone Age

Even if we still had telephones and electricity, I felt like I had entered the stone age at work yesterday when we couldn’t use our computers and our water was shut off. Water and computers have become the very bread and butter of life at an office. Without them we wander lost. Let me explain.

For many people working in an office, the computer has been as essential the telephone is in the home–and for some people as essential as a cell phone. Speaking for myself, all of my work is now on a computer. I very rarely print out documents and file them, especially because my physical filing system leaves much to be desired. The filing system on my computer on the other hand is excellent, and typically backed up on a CD.

When the computers had to stay shut off for roughly an hour or so yesterday, employees wandered about aimlessly. Some ate lunch (around 10:30 am) and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could do without my computer, a task that consumed more time than accomplishing the work I dug up. When all else fails, the break room or kitchen is the best move.

But without water, we were stymied from social interaction around a cup of coffee. There was no water available to make it. And so the wanderers continued to make their rounds, while others shuffled through the bits of paper on their desks, looking for anything to do.  

Within a few hours the well was pumping water afresh and the computers were humming, and life was just as it should be. Nevertheless, our brief return to the “Stone Age” was a reminder of just how fragile our modern world can be.

2 thoughts on “My Temporary Return to the Stone Age

  1. Heather

    but isn’t it a good reminder to not take things for granted? Definitely takes us out of our comfort zones. I have classmates now who are from Iraq, Congo, Iran, and many other places — some for whom that was “business as usual”. Definitely has shaken up my worldview a bit.

  2. ed Post author

    Agreed. It made me question how I do work, organize information, and rely on some pretty fragile things for the status quo.

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