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?
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