Hurricane Irma: 5 cool things about having no power

Wind blown palm trees and the stars dot the landscape at the Red Coconut R.V. Park on Fort Myers Beach on Tuesday 9/12/2017. Without power due to Hurricane Irma, the stars are more visible to the naked eye with out the light pollution.

There are plenty of reasons to stress about having no power. Not being able to take a hot shower, do laundry, have a cold drink – these, at times, will frustrate even the best of us.

However, the situation will be what we make of it. Here are five cool things about not having power:

1.   Look up at night. The lack of power means the lack of light pollution. Looking skyward Tuesday evening revealed hundreds more stars visible to the naked eye. Even more were captured in this image by The News-Press photographer, Andrew West, who exposed this photo for 30 seconds. Walking along near the darker-than-usual Fort Myers Country Club, I could see the Little Dipper constellation, one I usually don’t notice unless I’m on vacation in the Rocky Mountains somewhere.

2.   Being unplugged is good for you. No TV or Internet and dying phone batteries means families, finally, can actually talk to one another instead of texting each other. Playing card games and board games during the day or by candle light at night, families can experience American home culture as it used to be either for the first time or for the first time in a long time.

3.   Getting to know your neighbors. According to a CityLab study in 2015, only about a third of Americans know their next-door neighbors by name. No power provides the opportunity to get out and learn more about your neighbors and reintroduce yourselves.

4.   We as Americans take things for granted. Right now, most of Southwest Florida is experiencing life as many in other countries do all of the time, not just in the aftermath of hurricanes. Soak that in for a moment before complaining about why there aren’t any FPL trucks in your neighborhood; in countries like Kenya, for example, entire communities are thriving and vibrant and happy, more so than ours at the moment, despite living full-time, all the time, without any electricity.

5.   Because of widespread power outages, Lee County has been maintaining mandatory curfews, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. in most of Lee County, with an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. exception for Cape Coral. This means night-time will be quiet time (unless you or your neighbors have an annoyingly loud, gas-powered generator; If your family needs one for medical reasons or for the elderly, that’s fine. If not, see reason No. 4 and please turn off your generator). Enjoy not hearing the constant noise pollution of cars going to and from, in and near your neighborhoods.

Connect with this reporter: David Dorsey (Facebook), @DavidADorsey (Twitter).