Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I was never so happy to see 5 a.m.

Here’s what happens when you lose power for eight days.

On the first day you go about your business - hey wait there is no business because the internet is down.  It 's  2012 - they have systems in place, don't they?  We would have power in a couple of hours. I put all the food in the freezer,  got out the flashlights, a few candles, a few books, no big deal.  By six, it was getting dark.  Twelve dark hours stretched ahead of me.  I tried to read by candlelight and then flashlight but I couldn’t concentrate.  I got out the transistor radio and listened to “talk radio.”  Talk radio is all about political extremes.  The only station I could get came from Connecticut and the host was an Obama basher.  He kept bashing and bashing.
I turned off the radio and there was nothing to do but think.
I found out that thinking is overrated.  Thinking is awful.  I realized I hadn’t thought in a long time and liked it that way.
I tried to stop thinking and pay attention to my breathing.
I finally fell asleep. 
I woke up two hours later fully rested.
After a long, long time I fell asleep again and woke at 5 a.m.
I was never so happy to see 5 a.m.

On day three I opened the refrigerator and the stench punched me.
I got a big black garbage bag and placed all the food into it.
When the refrigerator was empty I noticed that things had spilled into it over the years.  Red things had spilled into it and also green and brown things. The spills had fossilized.  I was happy to have a legitimate chore and began to scrub the refrigerator.  After a couple of hours, the refrigerator looked beautiful - white, clean and empty.  I yearned to decorate the refrigerator with new food but that was the road to madness.  
I began to dust books in the bookshelves with a small brush.  This was not as satisfying as the refrigerator so I abandoned the project.

After eight days of this life The Stockholm Syndrome set in. This psychological phenomenon is also known as capture-bonding in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors (in this case LIPA).
I was still looking down the street for LIPA trucks but I was also wishing for the power to stay away so I could live this simple, media-free life.
I raked leaves, visited the library, cleaned out the silverware drawer, organized my socks. I was decoding Fifty Shades of Humility prior to joining an order of nuns.

On Sunday, all persons who had been around to commiserate had returned to their lives and I was alone.  There was a rhythm to my day and I succumbed to the absence of electricity and put it out of my mind.   As is always the case, the moment I gave in to “what was” the situation reversed.  Help came from the Hawkeye State, Iowa’s nickname. I drove down my street on Monday evening and saw two big trucks.  On the side it said Hawkeye Electric.  Iowa is also known as The Corn State because it produces one-fifth of the world’s corn crop.  It is also known as “Land of The Rolling Prairie” because of the vast rolling prairies that cover the state.


  1. I have been wondering how you fared in the storm, sounds like other than nearly terminal boredom you escaped unscathed, and now you have a gleaming refrigerator to boot.

    1. Carlarey, nice to hear from you. Yep, you got it right: terminal boredom but in the end kind of liking the crazy life.