Top 10: Fun Things to do During a Power Outage
There you are, relaxing at home, surfing the internet, watching tv, microwaving yesterday's microwave dinner having forgotten how bad it was and just why you didn't finish it - when suddenly *pop* you're plunged into a world of darkness, leaping from your chair with the grace of a two-legged elephant you make your way to the fuse box. Coffee tables spring out of nowhere and launch an unrelenting assault on your shins, doors appear where they never were before, staircases make Everest look like a stroll in the park - and worse still - that cool LED torch (flashlight for those of you over the pond) you bought - and haven't used since shining it in people's eyes got boring - has been reading Karl Marx again and refuses to work until your bourgeois oppression of all things battery-powered ceases. After a truly Columbus-esque journey, and having eventually found the fuse box (a mysterious creature that tends to stroll around the house over the course of the year - making it terribly hard to find), you realise that it's not just a blown fuse and is, in fact, the dreaded power outage.
But never fear; for some benevolent being has created a list of 10 fun things to do during a power outage for you! (note: this is assuming it happens at night, if it's during the day just go for a walk or to a friend's house)
1 - Ice Creamocalypse
The power's off! This means only one thing - your fridge and freezer are off too! Make your way as quickly (and safely - you don't have the sort of padding you'll probably have afterwards yet) as possible to your freezer and remove all ice cream in sight and launch yourself into it with anything you can get your hands on - forks, knives, spatulas, spades, CD cases... maybe even spoons! You'll probably have some reservations about how good for you it is but don't worry, you will be heralded as a local hero, poets will write sonnets about how you bravely put ice cream before yourself and let not one atom go to waste. People will talk for years to come of how - like the Carpathia to the Titanic - you came to the aid of ice cream in need.
2 - "Love thy Neighbour as Thyself"
You might have elderly neighbours who, during a power outage, may feel vulnerable. You wouldn't want them coming over to chat about how the neighbourhood's taken a downturn since the Jones' moved in a few doors down accompanied by stale cake from a few days before or some foul, un-named, monstrosity from their recently redundant fridge that needs eating lest it spring to life having been freed from its cryogenic prison - oh, no, you wouldn't want this, so why inflict it on them? Instead take time to reflect on your youth and be glad that you aren't vulnerable and have 8 more fun things to do in store! If, however, you are elderly and vulnerable, "make haste; the better foot before" and hurry to your fridge to find the most disgusting denizen of its darkened depths and go over to your neighbours' - you have a reputation to uphold! And there are those new people that moved in that you need to complain about....
3 - Light a Fire
Now, I'm not saying you should go committing arson - even if your neighbours have been boring you for the past hour - try using that fireplace that seemed such a bonus when you first moved in but has instead taken up the perfect place to put a TV (be sure to make sure you have a chimney first). Once the fire's lit and all's well, don't just sit back and bask in the warm orange glow - put on "Fire" by the crazy world of Arthur Brown, scream "I am the god of hellfire" at the top of your voice, unleash the raw, neanderthal pyromaniac within, sharpen a curtain pole, hunt down a wild boar, have a hog roast! Or maybe just sit down and read a book by firelight if you're going to be less adventurous. If you don't have a fireplace with functioning chimney, how about a barbequeue? Invite the Jones' round to spite your neighbours, who knows, they might bring something tasty!
4 - Tell Scary Stories
This may seem childish and at times dull; you will probably feel foolish and it is for this reason that you have to try your hardest to avoid being chosen to tell the story - praise your partners in darkness, draw comparisons with the bards of old, and, having seduced them into humiliating themselves with a truly terrible story, enforce the positioning of a torch under their chin; this serves a dual purpose: 1) it makes them think they look spooky, 2) it reduces their night-vision capabilities. The second point is the crucial one, for now you put your stealth abilities to the test and see if, in another life, you could have been Jason Bourne. Slowly and quietly edge backwards before getting up and leaving the room without the storyteller noticing - if there are several of you, once all safely away, place bets on how long it will be before the storytelling ceases and the long-suffering furniture present is allowed some peace.
5 - Light Switch Roulette
Turn off every switch you can find (Note: if you work in a hospital, leave the life support machines alone) and indulge in a game of light switch roulette, the rules are simple and as follows: choose one item of a fairly insubstantial price that you would like, then, with this thought in mind, wait until you think the power's back on, if, upon flicking a switch, you are bathed in the shimmering golden glow of success then hop onto the interweb and get buying! If, however, you are met by the solitary 'click' of failure you must retire to bed and pray that in the morning you can pretend it was all a bad dream... until you want some ice cream.
6 - Get Inventive!
What better time to go green and create your own power source than when conventional means of acquiring electrickery have failed you! Go fetch your lawnmower (be sure your lawn is nicely mown before doing this as it may be some time before you acquire a new mower) and remove the impeller (a crazy circular swirly turbine-looking contraption); for those that do not know how to do this, first unscrew the holding nut or screw on the blade, remove the blade and underneath will be your impeller of hope! now, attach the impeller to a shaft (it may be necessary to dismantle the engine if you don't have a handy shaft hanging around, then, attach magnets to the shaft and place the magnet-covered end inside a used toilet roll (no, not the used paper, the cardboard cylinder!) wrap wire around the roll several hundred times and attach the two ends to the mains electricity going into your house (Safe and simple!). Place a normal desk fan in front of your impeller, plug it in, switch it on, ignore the fatal flaw in the plan, give thanks to Faraday and his laws of induction, and bask in the glory of the power turbine you've just created! (note, you don't need an impeller or desk fan, you could just hook up a handle to the shaft and spin it really fast - or maybe a hamster wheel - sure it would only barely power a very small light bulb but hey, it's better than nothing!)
7 - How About them Littleuns'
If you have children, why not sit down and talk to them! Contrary to common belief children are not just there to disobey, cause havoc and spend your money... well, at least, that's not all they can do. You might find out something new about them! Play a board game if conversation runs dry or maybe a good old fashioned game of hide and seek! If, however, you don't have children, find your partner and use it as a chat up line - a fair amount of entertainment should spring from this, however, if it results in a slap, what better way to say sorry than a candle-lit dinner under the stars? If you don't have a partner either... well... take inspiration from the Bible: "Rise up; this matter is in your hands." Ezra 10:4
8 - Astronomeasy
Take a stroll out your door and have a lie down on the ground - often during power outages the lack of ambient light from streetlamps means you can see a lot more stars than usual. Now you're thinking 'but I don't know any of the constellations!' well, truth is, nobody really does, people just make them up as they go along! There are billions and billions of stars in our galaxy alone, the chances of anyone having a name for the collection of stars you choose is minuscule, besides, who's anyone to say what they should be called? who do these people think they are? Darth Vader? Anyway, on with the faking: put on your most serious and sincere voice, point in an abstract direction (Up is often the most convincing) and lay claim to your own ludicrously deformed constellation!
9 - Blindman's Bluff
Stroll around your humble abode and actually touch things without looking at them (note: try to avoid your knife racks / draws) people often don't realise just how awesome certain things they own feel - or how slightly disconcerting! try and navigate your way from one place to another without looking. If, however, blindness is a more permanent thing, just sit back and bask in the glory of being at a great advantage to everyone within a radius of a few hundred metres of your home! Or how about some good old fashioned matress surfing down a staircase! What could possibly go wrong?
10 - The Light! It Burns!
Unless partaking in light switch roulette, turn all switches off save a small desk lamp or something else that will indicate when the power's back on. Once your home is again graced with the glories of electricity, it's go time! Put your game face on, stroll determinedly up to the pitiful lamp and with one swift blow extinguish its bulb; then see how long you can last before turning anything on! This is, however, not exactly something to actually do during the power outage - so while you wait, how about trying to work out just what your game face is!
And so our journey is at an end! I'm sure this is probably very different to what Lowell was expecting - and probably very unexpected too as the question that inspired this hub was 5 weeks old at the time of writing, but regardless, it should give you some ideas - even if a little strange.
I hope that next time the power goes off you'll all remember to revisit this page and can enjoy an evening of slightly strange entertainment!