Power Shift Interlude: Tribute to a Household God

By , March 19, 2015

“Jesus’ name is ‘Omen’. Omen says we can watch a movie!”

Aly announced this one evening at the dinner table when she was about 4 years old. The statement, apparently based on a misinterpretation of the standard dinner grace closing, shocked and delighted us with its metaphysical and etymological leap, and its naked attempt to sway the vote for that evening’s entertainment.

“Omen” has become somewhat of a household god for us: the God of Available Power. We often jokingly refer to the Trimetric monitor on our battery bank as “Omen,” particularly when consulting it to see if we do indeed have enough battery capacity for a movie.

Omen, the Household God of Available Power (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Omen, the Household God of Available Power (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

As I confessed long ago, while we don’t have regular television, we do love to watch movies (see How Sizing Our Battery Bank Led to Uncomfortable Truths about Our LIfestyle). When I audited our energy use recently while revamping our off the grid system (see Power Shift: Apples and Oranges) I calculated that watching films accounts for 43% of our energy use!

I’m not sure what this says about us. We’re not blind to the irony of an off the grid family, pursuing a simple life, yet watching movies for entertainment. Certainly, I had this in mind when I wrote the essay, A Month of Renewal recently.

Another way of looking at it might be that, should we ever need to, we can cut back on or cut out movie watching, and gain an extra 43% of power capacity if it ever becomes necessary. That’s a pretty comfortable cushion.

For us, movies fall into that category of “use it until you lose it.” This category includes the cocoa, tea and coffee we enjoy, produced in far away, more temperate climates. It also includes synthetic fabrics, or, to be more precise, any fabric we don’t spin ourselves from local fibers. All of these and more would disappear if worldwide trade faltered. We could be puritans about it, and divorce ourselves from these pleasures and conveniences now, so we won’t miss them when they’re gone. Or, we could enjoy them while they last.

Omen willing, we may always do so.

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