If I seem to be not quite myself today, it’s because some drunk hit a power pole a little after midnight last night and knocked out my electricity. I tend to get as nervous as a dog on the Fourth of July when something like this happens. I try to find ways to cope, which always begins with a lot of pacing. I walked all around the house, from window to window, peeking out to see if any lights appeared anywhere. Stars, yes; streetlights, no. But I kept it up for hours, stomping around with a flashlight in my hand.
Naturally, I called the power company. Naturally, they gave me the runaround. The first time I called, they had no knowledge of an outage and gave me the option to report it. The second time, they had a report of one outage in my area (yeah, the one I reported), with an estimate that power would be restored between 1:41 am and 3:41 am. I assumed that meant it would be closer to 1:41, so I relaxed. A little.
There was no use going to bed, because if the lights and TV suddenly came on, I’d just have to get up and turn everything off. It was easier in the olden days, you know, when you could just flip a switch to turn something off. Now you can’t turn things off unless they’re already on (which they’re not, if there’s no electricity). So I waited, making use of my cell phone to entertain myself. I watched a few Olympic highlight videos (the only place I saw any fencing) and a full episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, all the while assuming that within minutes I could turn everything off, stick the phone on the charger, and retire for the night.
About an hour into the time window the power company had given me, I called them again. This time their recording told me about the drunk hitting the pole (although they couldn’t use the word “drunk” for liability reasons; I interpolated). And they gave me a new window: Power would be restored between 3:00 am and 5:00 am.
Well, I wasn’t staying up until 5:00, and I no longer believed them anyway, so I went to bed. And I tossed and turned and slept fitfully off and on for a few hours. Something, maybe the silence, woke me up at 5:30 am, and I could see that I still had no electricity, so I called the power company yet again. This time they insisted that I talk to a live person instead of a recording, so I had to brace myself. I could shout obscenities at a recording, but I wouldn’t do that with a real person.
Candice got all my information and checked the grid for me. About a hundred customers were still out, she said, and the new estimated time was 11:00 am. If she’d been a recording, I would have lost it. Instead I thanked her for the very helpful information, hung up, and went back to bed. This time I actually did sleep, but only until the electricity came back on at 9:00 am. I got up and turned out lights, reset clocks, flushed the toilet (no water without electricity here), made coffee, and tried to get myself together.