It hasn’t been a total inconvenience. Cleaning out the fridge and freezer was a whole lot easier. Kids have been staying up late with a campfire, and we’ve been telling stories instead of reading them. Creative play has increased right along with competitive fighting. Flashlights have become a weapon.
But three days in, the novelty is over.
Taking a shit in the hot dark—what could only be called a shitbox—has given me a real respect for modern conveniences of the middle class.
Garage door openers
Automatic ice makers
Electric nannies like Word Girl and Phineas and Ferb and Wii
The option to have a freezer section sampling in your home
The world wide internet
Cool conditioned air
Being a stay at home dad while Wife works crazy hours to make up for what I lack, however, means that most of my domestic and professional production is done at night. The house is a mess. Writing momentum has been stopped. I wrote by Citronella moonlight the first night. It was a strain. The neighborhood has been roaring with neighbors’ generators instead of cicadas. And while it has been fascinating to think of what one was before houses were tied into massive webs of electricity, I do not long for a simpler time. Things, from washing dishes to wiping asses, take a lot longer and move at a much slower pace. I don’t miss TV but I do miss reading a book before I go to bed. The finality of flipping a switch to go to sleep, powering down. I suppose you could get that finality of the day from blowing out a candle. But I’m a modern man and I’m a slave to ComfuckingEd.
Debuting this Sunday on Experiments in Manhood will be a new feature of guest columns. The first will be by author Ben Tanzer hitting the bigger questions by looking at how his father’s premature death affects Tanzer’s relationship with his own kids.