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04 June 2009

Forces of Habit

TO writes this post using a laptop computer's battery, during an early morning power outage. Using an analog telephone, assurance has been obtained from the local utility that a crew is in the area and that service restoration is anticipated within the hour. TO anticipates that the post will be uploaded sometime thereafter, when routing to the Internet becomes once again convenient.

TO's immediate environment is quiet under the circumstances, except for a cordless telephone that beeps periodically as a reminder that its accustomed power supply is not currently available. From TO's perspective, this recurring signal appears more annoying than useful. It seems unlikely that a human awake in the immediate vicinity would be unaware of a lack of power, or that such an individual would immediately be able to satisfy the device's energy demands. TO hopes that the telephone's recurring chorus will not soon be joined by similar demands from other domestic devices. The resident humans are already aware of the situation, and have taken appropriate action.

TO is reminded that use of electricity is habitual at an almost unconscious level. One turns on a light switch when entering a room, even if entering the room specifically in order to report the known fact that said switch's operation will have no effect. When electric service was a new novelty, did its subscribers often enter dark spaces with candles in hand, only then to remember the toggle mechanism on the wall that could cause a filament within a glass globe to illuminate?