This article was originally published in November 2012
When Hurricane Sandy hit last week and the power in my lower Manhattan apartment went out, my first thought, as I dug around for candles and LED lamps was “Well this will be a fun little off-grid adventure!” I naively harbored some romantic notion of the coziness of eating dinner and playing board games with my family by candlelight, and even actually enjoyed the first 24 hours without electricity for the chance to disconnect. However, when my gadget batteries started to die one by one, the water dried up, the food in the fridge started to spoil, and contact with the outside world began to shut down, the novelty started to wear off and the reality of the situation finally began to hit me. First my computer battery died, then iPad, then finally my phone, and I think I never fully realized until that moment how much of a lifeline these mobile communication devices are. Without even a working cell phone – my last vestige of communication – to call my family or look at the news, I had no idea what was going on around me, how much longer the power outage was supposed to last, and whether there was any help available, and I started to get desperate.
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