Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Night The Lights Went Out

That would be night before last, when it rained pretty hard from mid-afternoon until the early morning hours of the following day. Rain like that is not usually accompanied by a power outage around here, and the power rarely goes out under any circumstances. So, leaving work the other night, I was expecting a pleasant evening of blogging and web surfing, with possibly a little television viewing thrown in as well. I always have a good book or two ready at my bedside, too, and sometimes I can't resist just spending a few hours reading. All in all, I was sure the little leisure time I have after a hard days work would be spent in doing a few of the very few things I really enjoy.

I had watched with great joy the rain coming down outside the window by my desk at work. Soon a co-worker was standing nearby, also gazing at the beautiful scene.

"Damn rain!" they said. I didn't argue, I just said "I love the rain, don't you?" to which they replied, "Yeah, but I hate driving in it. I know there'll be an accident on my way home that will hold me up."

I could agree with that, at least to the extend that the rain means a more cautious commute. The freeways around here are more than a little frightening when the weather is wet. Still, the pluses of precipitation outweigh the minuses.

I somehow made it home, and the downpour became really wild as I got out of the car. I grabbed my briefcase and ran for the doorway, raindrops and runoff from the roof soaking me as I stood trying to find the right key to open the lock. I also noticed that the mailwoman had once again left the day's junk inserted upright in the box, leaving it exposed and subject to whatever mother nature wanted to do to it. The mail was wet, and if they were still delivering anything important I'd complain to the Post Office.

So, I was inside, and ready to have a nice hot meal. Nothing better as the cold rain comes down outside, than to warm your insides with microwaved nourishment; maybe some hot soup for starters.

I turned on the T.V., fired up the old computer, and decided to write up a brilliant piece refuting every nonsensical and illogical statist post Bret Alan has ever posted. I could wait a few minutes for supper, after all, how long could it take to demolish Bret's arguments? As I was just finishing the post, one of the best things I'd ever written, I might add, I was startled by a strange dimming of the lights in the room, followed by their return to full brightness a split second later.

I was admiring and rereading my work when suddenly I was enveloped in complete darkness. I didn't immediately know where the nearest flashlight rested, so I reached for where I'd last placed my cellphone. Thankfully a cell phone will provide just enough illumination to find your way around in the dark. I first went to the front door and looked outside. The whole block was dark, and I saw a couple of people exiting a house across the street, with a flashlight in hand. I soon found a small flashlight of my own and then proceeded to search for candles. I didn't figure on the power being off for any length of time, but I wanted to be prepared. Unfortunately, I realized that I wasn't. Where were the damn candles!

I finally found one lone candle in the cabinet with the toilet paper. It didn't look like any kind of an emergency candle to me, more like a minor inconvenience candle, but I took it to my room anyway. That's when I discovered I had no way to light it. Now I had to go find matches or a lighter. Too bad I don't smoke I thought for a second. There were no matches in the kitchen, even though I searched every nook and even every cranny. My lack of success puzzled me, as I'm always hearing the term "kitchen matches", so where the hell were they! I then had to relieve myself, and headed to the bathroom, where I found the small book of stink matches beside the toilet. My problem was solved, but I hate those tiny paper matches. I've never got the hang of lighting them easily, and my first few attempts only ended with a match head absent a paper body. When I held the very last match in my hands, I knew it was do or die, so I focused on success and soon had a candle flickering to life. It was then that I found out how little there is to do with just candle light. I had no Internet (and my final refutation of Bret "Ginx" Alan was lost to the electricity gods, and posterity, forever; perhaps my punishment for allowing Skeptical Eye to depart from a strict anarchist agenda), no television, not even a radio to listen to the news, as I had thrown away my battery radio in disgust when it started draining a 9 volt battery every two hours.

I couldn't have my hot food either, so I dejectedly opened a can of tuna and ate in silence. When the power had not been restored after several hours, I lay down on my bed, the soft glow of the candle and the patter of the rain falling outside my open window my only comforts. When I awoke, the lights were back on, but I didn't bother to check the clock. I had slept, and that felt good, and I knew I'd needed the sleep that had been forced upon me by circumstance. Still, I regretted my lost anti-Ginx masterpiece, written in one of those magical unrepeatable moments that you can never recapture. Oh well, at least there were still YouTube videos to post. I went to my computer and got to work.


  1. my lost anti-Ginx masterpiece,

    hey that sounds like the fish that got away.....

  2. Oh the irony of your song of praise for the private sector being erased by the failure of a private energy provider.

    Just for future reference, Microsoft Word has an auto-save feature you should look into (I have mine set to every 2 minutes).

  3. Oh the irony of your song of praise for the private sector being erased by the failure of a private energy provider.

    Not sure what to make of this, as both public and so-called "private" power companies experience the occasional outage. And private energy providers are of course far from being free market businesses.


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