… And so I was able to keep my food chilled another night. Today, I checked my solar panels, and found that the charge controller was only sending 2 amps to the batteries, instead of the 4 amps it should be sending. I checked each of the 4 panels, and found that one of them wasn’t working (it’s only outputting 2 volts instead of 19). So, it seems like I have a number of issues. One is that only 75% of my panels are working, and, on top of that, they are outputting far less than they should. It’s also possible that the heat has been causing the fridge to run its compressor more often (or longer), and is therefore using up more power. Also, I’ve been somewhat negligent in keeping my solar panels oriented towards the sun, which also further decreases output. All these factors combined seems to have pushed me to an energy deficit, resulting in two nearly completely discharged batteries. I’d been planning on buying more solar panels anyway, but it looks like I should do that sooner rather than later.
You’d think life would be miserable if you didn’t have basic things like electricity or water. But, to me, it all seems like a really fun game. In the city, people have most of their basic needs fulfilled. Flip a switch, the light goes on. Turn the faucet, you get water. Talk into a phone, pizza comes to your door. Yet, somehow, people are still stressed. While people don’t have to worry about electricity or water, in exchange, they have plenty of other things to worry about. The boss, the client, the landlord, the upstairs neighbor who moves furniture around at 2am, your friend who’s inexplicably mad at you, the cable company who double charged you, the phone company and their shitty service, the waitress at that restaurant you went to for dinner who took too long to bring you your appetizers. A lot of these stresses are caused by the fact that, in the city, you’ve delegated so much of your life, that you’ve given control over your life to complete strangers. You no longer have agency over your destiny, and when something goes wrong, you’re at the mercy of other people; people who actually don’t really care about your problems, even if they’re in a position to do something about it. So, people escape to games. They play Farmville and World of Warcraft for hours and hours, because games give you back your sense of control, and you are rewarded (albeit in virtual points) for the effort you put in. It satisfies the basic human desire to solve problems, to be rewarded for doing so, and feel empowered. It satisfies a desire that, sadly, modern civilization has taken away, for the sake of comfort and convenience.
Arguably, what I’m doing out here is a game too. I’m here because I want to, not because I have to. And, it seems, anything that is fun these days, is dismissed as “entertainment”, a mere distraction, because life isn’t meant to be fun. But, when you think about it, humans, and all animals, are programmed to enjoy life functions that are truly necessary. Eating, drinking, solving problems, getting exercise. These are all fun. It’s everything else that’s not fun. Working in a cubicle. Paying the mortgage. Calling customer service. Dealing with the car mechanic. Waiting in line at the super market. The very things that we associate with modern life, turn out to be not-fun. Up here, all I did was to get rid of all that. And lo, all that remained was stuff that we naturally find pleasurable. Eating cake. Napping under an oak tree. Solving my own problems without getting put on hold by customer service. Seeing my own labor make an immediate tangible difference in my quality of life. So, yes. If that’s a game, then awesome, it’s a game I’d recommend to anyone; the graphics are amazing, it’s pretty damn addictive, and oh, you’ll lose weight and get in shape too.