Terrible storms throughout the night. The dog, circling and scratching. Then, the sound of an explosion, 4 or 5 a.m. Either a tree went through the roof (it happens in our neighborhood), or – more likely – the transformer two houses away blew.
My alarm is on AAs; it went off at the usual time. But I couldn’t see any lights from my window. Just the same swollen gray sky. Rain.
I looked at the cable box. No lights. Maybe just the cable is out. I stumbled out into the kitchen to put the coffee on. Shit. No power, no wi-fi. Nothing.
I woke my son. I showered in the dark. I went out to the car (umbrella covering my wet hair), and I used the air to semi-dry my hair, only to… you got it… get it soaking wet again going back into the house, even with an umbrella.
Candlelight… Why not?
I dressed in semi-darkness. Made my son’s turkey on wheat for lunch while he finished up a bit of French homework, by candlelight, at the kitchen table. I have reading to do later, and clearly I’ll be out of battery power on my laptop. No job boards. No emails. No more writing. Not online or by computer, anyway.
But I can be reading and writing with a book or journal in my hands, by the flicker of a candle if needed. There’s something lovely in the actual act, not typing. Feeling the texture of the paper. The soft sound of a pencil or pen as it moves across the surface. And something even more graceful, more fundamental – doing just that, by candlelight.
Single parent worries; every parent worries
I drove my son to school, late; saw others being dropped off late. We talked to two teenagers at the drop-off, standing in the rain. Apparently entire areas have no power. That means there are fewer kids in schools, many late to school, and some unable to get there (traffic lights out, fewer bus drivers, fewer buses available).
It also means there are teachers and administrators missing or late. And parents who are at home with kids, unable to go to work; no one to leave the kids with if buses don’t come, and schools aren’t in session. Single parent? It may mean a lost day of pay.
My son went inside, and I waited until he texted to “go” – they had some substitute teachers and were carrying on as best they could.
I drove. Found a Caribou with lights on (and free wi-fi), but all I can really think about is the $150 I spent over the weekend on food – great deals that I ran to three places for, to save about $20 total. I stocked up – chicken, London Broil, milk, eggs, yoghurt, fresh veggies and a lot of frozen foods my son inhales for fuel between meals. Now defrosting. Now spoiling. When you’re without steady income, or any income, $150 is huge. Small emergencies pose enormous problems, and worry. And I’m certainly not alone in this.
How do I replace $150 in food? Not possible. Not on our planet. I’ll hope the power comes back and that most of the food stays good. No way to know. I’m crossing fingers. And toes.
It’s busy here – people on their laptops. I haven’t even bothered with coffee yet, though I could use some. Oh God could I use some…
Trying to look on the bright side… Whatever coffee shops around town have free wi-fi will swell with customers! Good for the coffee economy!
This power outage? Also good for the power workers all over the city who need the overtime. Not so good for those of us with food spoiling in our fridges, and no budget to replace it. Not so good for those of us who work out of our homes, and need power to do so. Not so good for those hourly workers, stuck at home with kids, and losing a day’s pay.
Well, it’s “just life.” Not always fun. Unexpected worries. Inconvenience. But no tragedy. No tree through the roof. No one hurt.
I’ll manage with whatever the day brings, and no doubt feel better, once I get that cup of coffee.
© D A Wolf