bunt sign

Friday, January 2, 2004

Having had heat, light and water for 24 consecutive hours now, I'm here to say you can have your pioneer days. I'll take the good old twenty-first century any day over getting freeze-dried in the dark.

The shadows were getting long yesterday afternoon, and I was still without power. (If there had been shadows, they would have been getting long. No sun, no shadows.) I'd left my number with PG&E, and their recorded voice promised to call me back when they had more information about when my power would be restored. I considered calling their recorded voice again, but I assumed she was tired of hearing from me.

So I waited. And paced. Then I looked out the window toward the street and saw a man in an orange vest. That gave me hope, although I had to get the binoculars out and look through the tree limbs to verify that he was, indeed, from the electric company. After staring at him for a few minutes and not seeing him move, I scanned a little more of the street and saw his truck.

This was an even more hopeful sign, although the man appeared to be doing nothing more than waving the oncoming traffic around his truck. It seemed kind of a make-work project to me, parking your truck in the road and then flagging people down and telling them to go around your truck. It didn't seem likely that this was going to get my power back on.

Then, a little farther down the road (I'm slow on the uptake, don't you know), I saw two men in the bucket of a crane, being hoisted toward the top of the utility pole. Needless to say, the sheer joy of this development nearly knocked me off the stepstool I was standing on (like I need another injury).

Since it was about 45 minutes away from being pitch dark by this time, I was glad to see these guys. I had no idea what they were doing, and it took nearly the whole 45 minutes, but I watched them string wire using an extension rod of some sort, then take it down and string it up, over and over again. I got a little less confident each time it didn't work.

For the first time all day, I walked outside, hoping for a better view. I could have walked down the muddy driveway and talked to the flagger, but I didn't want to distract the crew from their duties. I could see that my yard was a mess, and the overnight storm had done a little tree-limb damage, but nothing major. The biggest branch that fell came off the old oak and laid itself across the grave of the cream-colored cat, as a sort of marker.

I went back inside to watch through the window again when suddenly, click! I heard the fax machine and the refrigerator whirring back to life. I still wasn't ready to set all the clocks until I was sure, but the crane operator lowered his guys and drove away, and the flagger got back in his truck and left, and I thought this might be the real thing. I turned on the heat first, then the lights. After a few minutes (estimated, of course), I called the time and reset the clocks. The ordeal, it appeared, was over at last.

2 January 2004

Clouds above the treetops.

An hour or so later, the phone rang. It was the recorded voice, announcing to me that my power had been restored. Then she told me that if my power had not been restored, I should call and talk to a real person. (So she didn't really know, did she?) Before she hung up, she said cheerfully, "Thank you for using Pacific Gas and Electric Company."

Isn't that nice? Like I have a choice.

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My grocery list today was so long that it carried over to the back side of the page. I've never had one do that before. But when I got to the supermarket, I had to wait in the street before I could turn into the parking lot. Then I had to wait in the parking lot to turn into a row. Then I had to wait to get out of the parking lot. There was no parking, but a lot of stopping and waiting. I'll try again tomorrow. The list is even longer now.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Government Hammer
"'I'll return your call,' says the Government. The Government might as well be saying, 'Let me cut your meat for you.'"

Three years ago: Clearing the Air
"If we rebelled in those days, it was by not smoking. I never hung out with people who smoked, not by choice but because the non-smokers were the cool kids."

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Yo solo quiero que la gente cante
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