Monday, August 17, 2009

It's Always Darkest Before the Power Comes Back On

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?

9 comments:

Soul-Fusion said...

thanks for enduring this so you can have something funny to write about. I was actually worried my power would go out last night due to an especially violent storm I watched out my window but luckily it moved on and my facebook status warned people further uptown of its impending arrival.

Kim said...

there was a silver lining for us...with no visual stimulation, Collin was tricked into falling asleep at 8:30. Though it may have been the boredom. And I finished Dooce's book...by flashlight.

Kami said...

ew...I think I can smell it.

Aren't we all so spoiled?! Seriously, a night like that makes you realize how good we have it. That movie might have been torture for me.

rychelle said...

sorry you had to go through all that (heat. blech), but i'm so glad you shared it with us. this was so well written. the details just drew me in.

Christy said...

So funny! I really enjoyed this!

Jesse C said...

That is too funny. I used to like it when the power went out, because that's when we would have sock wars and make up games in the dark basement. I don't remember our power ever staying out longer than a couple hours though.

Angie said...

That's just crazy! Even at the restaurant?! Crazy. Nothing like a nap and then a Mexican restaurant though is there?

PS - sorry about the cursing in the comment about summer. I'm just so #$@# tired of being too hot.

Becky said...

I have never been in a place where it is so dark when the power goes out! It's like being in the belly of Timpanogos cave! :)

shannon p. said...

You must really feel special to be one of only 9 houses affected by the power outage! It's one of those things that is fun and quaint the first time you "get" to eat dinner by candle light and use the powder room with a flashlight...after that, dying in the heat and unable to work, read, watch TV or find any other interesting means of enjoyment, it gets old quick...maybe that is why people had sooooo many children in the old days - there wasn't much to do in the dark!

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