To Be Alone

What is it like to be alone, really alone? We are an interconnected world now. People are glued to their screens or phones much of the time. What if these ceased to work?

One study found people were anxious in as little as fifteen minutes of not having their devices. I’ve seen people walking down sidewalks past flower beds filled with vibrant colors and never glancing at them as they were staring at their tiny screens.

Even during lockdowns in the past year people haven’t really been alone. They’ve had families. They’ve had their devices.

What is it like to be alone, really alone?

I am trying to imagine this in my present NaNo novel draft. My main character lives on an isolated place, but has a phone and drives to town several days a week. Her husband drives a truck, but comes home between hauls.

A major storm arrives with extensive flooding. The phone is dead. There is no cell service. The electricity goes out. She is alone, really alone.

losing electricity is to be alone
This was a wind storm, but three electric poles were broken off. The power was off for a week. This is when you find out how much you depend on having power. In the country, electricity turns on the water pump, milking in the dark or by candlelight is no fun, food in refrigerators and freezers spoils, computers and TVs and lights don’t work. Other problems happen during cold weather. How do you cope? What if you are stranded as well?

Even after the storm, the road is impassable. This property is not on a main electric line or phone line. The road is a minor one. She lives at the end of the road with few others living along it. She is at the bottom of the priority list for getting these services back.

What is it like to be alone, really alone? This isn’t for a day or two. It has now been a week.

Imagine your house if the electricity went out. What would it be like? Sound like? What would happen to your food supply? In the country well pumps stop working so the water is out too. How would you cope?

As I write, I remember times the electricity went out, sometimes for days. And the phone was out for days several times this year. Floods have happened, but not on the magnitude in the novel. Still, news stories tell of such events in other places.

What is it like to be alone, really alone? I’m trying to imagine the answer.