: in the dark :

The power went off at 7:52 this morning and what, pray tell, did I do? The same thing I always do; I posted myself at the light switch — flipping it on and off and on and off and on. Although nothing happened, I wasn’t totally convinced a power outage had actually occurred.

Heck, no, I picked up the remote and turned on the television. When no picture was forthcoming, I cranked up the volume. And? Still no joy. The screen remained as dark and silent as the grave.

Then, and only then, did I suspect that, hmmm, maybe the power’s out. Duh.

Why is that very obvious conclusion so hard to jump to? And what’s with the running from light switch to light switch expecting to restore electricity? Was Edison this antic, this compulsive? I don’t think so, but then he knew what he was doing. Me? No.

Even so, there’s something exciting about power failures. They take on the same carnival atmosphere as a snow day or recess. People get a little giddy, a little festive, at the serendipitous break in their otherwise dull routine. We mill around and chatter amiably with co-workers and neighbors, speculating on the cause of the outage. We see it as a cosmic gift.

Tuckered out from the milling and chattering, I took a chair by the window and picked up a book, waiting for the power to come back on. As the minutes dragged on I had to go to the bathroom, so off I toddled. I closed the door behind me and reflexively reached for the light switch, flipping it on. I was startled anew by the lack of power. Just thrown for a loop. Why? Seriously, why the surprise?

Strangely enough, that wasn’t even the surprising part. That came later.

At precisely 9:08, one hour and 16 minutes after going out, the power came surging back on. Every lamp and ceiling fixture flooded the place with light. And the television? That came on at the same decibel level as a car horn. It took twenty minutes to peel myself off the ceiling.

Why are you not surprised?

Copyright © publikworks 2012

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20 Responses to “: in the dark :”

  1. Lenore Diane

    You slay me, Lisa. This is hilarious, and I may be guilty of doing some or all of the same things you did during the power outage. Seriously, why do I walk into every room flicking the switch? Do I really think the power is just out in random rooms? Oy.
    And power outages do take on a ‘snow day’ or ‘recess’ kind of tone. At least during the first hour. Once the ice cream starts to melt recess is over.

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    • publikworks

      Hi, LD. Isn’t it crazy? And why can’t I remember to lower the volume on the things I’ve cranked way, way up? sheesh. It’s always a pleasure to have you stop by : )

      Like

  2. John

    I have Edison too, they are pretty good about keeping it turned on. Glad your food didn’t rot.

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    • publikworks

      I always think someone else will do it, so I just wait. I’m in no hurry, they’ll show up sooner or later. Probably. It was good of you to stop in.

      Like

  3. the home tome

    Let there be light! (And TV!)

    The power goes out around us often – but somehow, knock on wood, our house manages to stay lit….

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    • publikworks

      Me, too. I use those occasions to catch up on what’s been happening. Same thing with tornado sirens. Good to see you, thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  4. marrymeknot

    It’s a good point, the power going out is like a shift in time. We get to go back in time and pretend to live as though we didn’t have any electricity…if only for a few hours and then it’s back to crazy.

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    • publikworks

      It’s fun for a while, isn’t it? I wouldn’t want to live without power for long, though. The longest I’ve gone without is three days — after an ice storm. I didn’t enjoy myself. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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  5. Angie Z.

    Power outages are definitely like some kind of weird “kids, you can eat lunch in the classroom at your desks today” (a big deal in my grade school) type of break from routine. Except for two hours into it when you begin wondering if your ice cream has started thawing.

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    • publikworks

      That’s the tragic down side, Angie. I try not to think of all the sad ice cream containers in all the freezers in all the land. Instead I imagine all the happy, grinning people eating softened ice cream before it’s too late. Then I join ’em.

      How are things, by the way?

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  6. cecilia

    I had to laugh because i have actually done that, and frightened the .. well frightened the – life out of myself when everything came back on at full volume. now i am very careful not to try to turn the power back on by turning the volume UP!

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    • publikworks

      You’d think I’d learn, but no. It happens every cotton pickin’ time the power goes out. Every one. I want to be smart like you some day.

      Like

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