The power goes out all the time here. Even when I have made my payment to the power company.
And when it goes out, it goes all out. I mean, it really overachieves. It excels at being out. It's constantly trying to one-up itself.
If there is a significant rainstorm, the power will most likely go out. And not for a few minutes, but for several hours. I've learned to count on it. But yesterday--bright, beautiful, sunny yesterday--the power suddenly went out around noon.
"You've got to be kidding me," I said.
"Did you pay the power bill?" Ryan asked.
After 45 minutes with no power, I called the power company. A robot told me that my outage was known, was affecting nine other houses, and that there was no estimated resolution time for the problem. Thanks, robot, you are so helpful, friendly, and informative.
We left in the car to go to my eye appointment. I've been wearing my last pair of contacts for longer than I'm willing to admit. When the nurse?/technician?/examiner? used his fancy machine to take a look at them on top of my eyes, he remarked that there were several "deposits" on them and that they reminded him of the constellation Cassiopeia. He moved to the other eye and said, "Ahh, and here's the Milky Way."
"What a relief," I said, "they're only deposits. I thought I had glaucoma."
Then I endured a short lecture about disposing of my disposable contact lenses before they become home to deposit constellations.
And just when I thought my exam was over (my prescription improved, by the way, so I could argue that leaving contacts in forever actually repairs vision) he informed me that he needed to dilate my eyes since this was my first visit and they like to create a baseline. Twenty minutes later I checked out with fully-dilated eyes and some new boxes of contacts.
When we got home, the power was still out. I called the power company and the robot told me that my outage was known, was affecting nine other houses, and that there was no estimated resolution time for the problem.
I needed to work, but I had no power or internet. I also had no vision. But I did have a piercing headache, so I went upstairs and took a nap in our ever-warming, un-air-conditioned house.
When I woke up an hour later, the power was still out and my eyes were still dilated. I could have given birth through them, they were so dilated. I harumphed around the house, feeling completely restless. I couldn't work because the power was out and I couldn't see. I couldn't watch TV because the power was out and I couldn't see. I couldn't make dinner because the power was out and I couldn't see. I thought about reading--an activity that requires no electricity--and remembered that I couldn't see. Hence, all the harumphing.
Finally, we decided to flee.
We got in our car and drove to our favorite Mexican restaurant, relishing all the way in the air conditioning and ample electricity--playing the stereo, charging the cell phones, rolling the power windows up and down!
The dimly lit restaurant was bustling and we worked our way through two bowls of salsa as we waited and waited for our food.
"This is taking forever," Ryan said.
And then, as if to spite him for his impatience, the power went out in the restaurant. (See what I mean about the one-upping?) Before we could decide what to do, our food was delivered to our table. We ate in the darkened restaurant with only an emergency battery-powered flood light shining into our refried beans. By the time we left the restaurant, all of our eyes were dilated from the darkness.
We drove home. The power was still out. We stayed in the car while I phoned the electric company on speed dial and the robot told me that my outage was known, was affecting nine other houses, and that there was no estimated resolution time for the problem.
We drove to the mall and walked around in the electricity until they closed. My vision seemed to finally be restoring.
We drove back home and saw our street lined with big, fancy trucks from the power company with big, fancy flashing lights, and several men walking around scratching their heads. I called my robot friend and she gave me a new message: my outage was known, a crew had been dispatched to investigate, the problem was affecting nine other houses, and there was no estimated resolution time for the problem.
I had a flash of genius and outsmarted my power outage. I grabbed my laptop, a DVD, and my family. We watched Where the Red Fern Grows on the couch. I hadn't seen it in years.
"See?" I said watching the Coleman family in the Ozarks, "They don't have any power either."
The dogs died, the red fern grew, the Colemans moved to a bigger city (with electricity) and the movie ended. The big, fancy trucks on our street were long gone and the power was still very much out. I tucked the kids in to bed by candlelight and then plopped myself next to Ryan on our sweltering bed--dead, hot air all around.
Sometimes it's so hard living in the twenty-first century.
This morning the power is back on. Ryan said it happened around 12:40 a.m. when he was still reading in bed with a flashlight. My eyes are back to their normal size and a fresh, new workday is before me. The problems and annoyances of yesterday seem long gone except for one perplexing question: What is that smell coming from the refrigerator?