A big day for a small particle

The tune coming from the nightstand, steadily rising in volume, and the brightening of the bedroom lights are sure signs of a new day. Fortunately, there is no hurry yet, and I can allow the bed’s massage function to relax my muscles, while dreaming with my eyes closed a while longer. Enjoy waking up.

A cup of hot coffee and a fresh smoothie remind me of summer mornings on the patio of my holiday cottage. The peace and tranquility of a summer evening. The almost silent motion of the boat as I return from a summer party at a neighboring cottage across the lake.

In a temperature of –7°C, with banks of snow lining the driveway and frost on the branches, my thoughts quickly return to the present and my commute. While I walk to my car, it feels good to activate the alarm system and enable saving mode, lowering the temperature in the house for the day. Then I unplug the charging cable from my car and leave it on the stand. What a joy it is to sit in a warm car. The seat and steering wheel feel comfortable, the windows are clear, and a voice on the radio wishes listeners a good morning. 

After driving through countryside scenery for a few kilometers, I reach the intersection and join the traffic on the freeway.  The car moves so smoothly that it is almost unreal. The music is accentuated by the faint rumbling of the winter tires and the murmur of the wind. A pleasant female voice reads my incoming phone messages, while the navigator displays my familiar route.

The door of the park-and-ride garage at the subway station opens automatically, and the lights above guide me to a free parking spot. I plug the car into the charger, lock the doors and walk to the subway station. I select the zone and flash my travelcard to the reader. Those few seconds don’t leave much time to consider all the things behind this easy routine. 

No one pays attention as the train slides into the underground tunnel. Most people can’t resist the news or social media content on their smartphones, or perhaps they are engaged in intense messaging. Dozens of friends and interesting websites offer endless amounts of material to read and comment on.

The walk from the subway station to the office is short. I’m so familiar with the route that I barely notice the new streetlights, but my attention is drawn to a ‘sales’ sign in the window of a hobby equipment store. I don’t have time to go in now, but perhaps the same offers apply online.

I show my ID card to the reader and take the elevator to my floor. I haven’t walked many steps from the elevator when the lights in the lobby are switched on. The blinking spotlights of my workstation beckon me, although the office is otherwise dimly lit. Their greeting makes me smile every time.

I adjust my desk to the right height, turn on my laptop and begin work. In the background, the laptop communicates with the building’s systems, determining the best lighting and air conditioning settings on the basis of each task. It is great to have comfortable working conditions all the time – apart from when I spilled hot coffee on the keyboard. Luckily, a bit of kitchen roll helped to remedy the sudden darkness and cold blast at my workstation.

While using various apps to perform my tasks, I sometimes wonder how much paper and other resources would be needed to produce the results this group of 100 IT workers delivers every day. And how long would it take? If it wasn’t done electronically, that is. What a breathtaking idea.

On my way home from work I’m already thinking about dinner. The apps on my phone are an endless resource, but nothing beats ready-made organic meals from the corner store. A meal for four for 6 p.m. Yum!

In the evening, after I’ve played a computer game with my son, my mind drifts to the day’s events. So many great things have come from harnessing electrons, those tiny, electrically charged particles.

What is your electricity day like?