A harsh storm passed through our area on Saturday night and while it has been awhile since it has happened, it ended in a power outage in my neighborhood. It is funny how something like this can take you back; the outage took me back to a whole ‘nother lifetime when I was young. As a kid, our power was not nearly as stable as it is now. It seems like a strong wind could result in a power outage back in those days. I remember so many nights with candles and flashlights and the hum and smell of the kerosene lantern. This of course was in the days before the internet and multiple television channels. Back then, all we were missing with a power outage was our one channel (there were four channels but we only got one clearly) and lights. We didn’t even miss the air conditioning since we just had a window unit that didn’t work very well. We would all sit in the living room reading a book or the newspaper. Of course in those days we still had newspapers full of comics, sports and news. Typically, the power would be off for awhile so, at the appropriate time, we would all make our way down to our bedrooms and make it an early night.
Contrast that with today’s attitude. We had a hint that trouble was coming when the lights flickered off and on a few times. Finally, came that last flicker where the lights remained off. Based on my experiences as a child, I keep flashlights and candles ready for that first moment of darkness. The flashlights came out fairly quickly as we assessed our next move. No power meant no internet. The kids didn’t know how to react. My oldest daughter was at work so it was quickly decided that we should head to her restaurant to wait out the darkness. A neighbor promised to let me know if the power came on before he went to bed. So instead of reading, we all piled in a car to head to Nothing But Noodles. We had a leisurely meal; there was no reason to rush with the power off at home. At closing time, no word from the neighbor so our next move was to go to the movies. Surely, the power would be back on by 11:00…….after all, we rarely have power outages anymore. After the movie, still no word from the neighbor and now there was no where to go. So we headed back home.
It is odd driving through a neighborhood that has no power. It is a darkness that you just don’t see very often. The yellow glow of light in a window as one drives from one place to another is a friendly reminder that we aren’t alone. So we knew before we actually pulled in the driveway that the power was still off in the neighborhood. My ex-husband still had power in his neighborhood so the girls headed to his house for the rest of the evening. I pulled on some pajamas, headed to my room and went to bed to battle with the lack of air conditioning; a luxury that I find hard to live without. I got up at 3:00 to find one of my daughters returning home, hoping to find the power back on to no avail. I went back to bed and fell into a restless, overheated slumber until I was awakened by the television blaring to life as the power returned to our house at 6:02. Alas, it was not a permanent return. It was finally back for good at 7:00 and life could get back to normal.
Or could it? Turns out having power is different from having internet and our phone/internet was down for another day. Suffice it to say that we survived that foray into the dark ages but that is another story for another day…….