Last night, I came home from work and stampeded to the refrigerator as if I were an 8th-grade boy, and the light was out in there. "Well, crap," I thought. "I've never replaced a refrigerator lightbulb in all my days. Guess I'll have to go to the store."
I headed to the TV to watch my intellectual Long Island Medium, and?
Nothing. No TV.
In 1989, when that terrible San Francisco earthquake was happening, my then-roommate Sandy and I were watching TV. Probably intellectual A Current Affair, cause we watched that a lot. The point is, they interrupted to tell us about the earthquake. They interviewed a man who said, "I thought it was a plane flying over. But my wife said, 'No. It's an earthquake.' Right then I knew. It was an earthquake."
To this day, Sandy and I make fun of that poor quick man. Did you, sir? Did you know right then it was an earthquake? After your wife TOLD you? Did you? Every time something is obvious, Sandy and I will pull out that line.
"I searched my wallet and it was completely empty. Right then I knew, I was out of money."
"The panther leaped out from the dark and sunk its teeth into my neck. Right then I knew, a panther was attacking me."
"When I woke up, there was a big orb in the sky and the darkness was no longer there. Right then I knew, it was morning."
You get my drift. So after my fridge light was off and the TV was blank, right then I knew. I was out of power.
Of course, I had to go around flicking lights and looking at clocks and trying my food processor.
My food processor. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! I know you're probably worried sick about how I got dinner on the table, with no power. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA! again.
I got my cell phone and called Duke Energy. Oh, I was attitudinal. "Yes," I said, because I always start my I'm-calling-a-business phone calls with "Yes." "I just got home, and I have no power. This is unacceptable." In my mind, I'd turned completely into Miss Grundy in the Archie comics.
"Yes, ma'am. We cut your power off for unpaid bills. You haven't paid since January."
Turns out, they'd been sending me electronic bills only. I ASSURE you I never said I wanted an electronic bill, because I know myself and I can be, you know, scattered, and there's no quicker road to disaster than to EMAIL me a bill when I get 20492404024 emails a day. I PROMISE you they tricked me into it, by offering it to me and if I didn't UNcheck a box they'd do it automatically or something.
And I remember getting those stupid emails, and once or twice clicking over to pay my bill online. It'd always say, "Enter your account number" and I'd always be at work NOT KNOWING my account number, so my theory was I'll pay it when the paper bill comes.
I guess I did that for four months in a row. And now I don't got the pow-a.
Seriously? You thought I could tell this story WITHOUT this stupid song?
So I paid the damn bill and ASKED FOR A PAPER ONE FROM NOW ON, and hung up and waited. They said I'd get power again around 9:30. Or possibly midnight.
My plan had been that I was gonna do 15 minutes on my new bike and 30 minutes of Tracy Chapman video, but that was out. So the dogs had their lucky day and got a 45-minute walk. And yes, I AM 100% completely totally crippled up today.
It was a perfect night for a walk, though. It was warm, but there was a good breeze. We were having us a time till we got to the cul-deeee-sac, as they say here, and a huge black Lab mix came barrelling out of his house. He galumphed over to us, then did that scary stand stock-still thing.
"YOUR DOG'S OUT! YOUR DOG IS OUT HERE!" I was screeching, when that black giant dog LUNGED at my dogs, and I dropped their leashes because they're less assy when I do that, and Edsel--
--yes, you heard me--
EDSEL got all up in that black Lab mix's business. He snarled and jumped RIGHT UP on that dog, pushing him over, and then they did that scary two-dogs-in-a-fighty-ball thing. I know! Clearly it's pets-out-of-character week here at House of June. Next Lily will have a bad fur day and look hideous.
Lu kind of barked half-supportively. "go, um, underbytey dog. you go--hay, we gots treet out heer, mom?"
"Ranger! Get back here!" The black dog's person came out and my racist dog stopped with the fighting. I was still a little shaken when I ran into the Snowflake kids. "HI ETHEL! HI LALUUUULAH!"
When we got home, I still did not GOT THE POW-A! and I will stop that now. I weeded my back yard until my back snapped off, then I took my sweaty self on my front porch and read a book for awhile (The Orchardist, by Amanda Coplin. Starts slowly but stick with it). I listened to the katydids and watched the swallows fly over.
When it got too dark, I went inside and ate some strawberries, and because I was sitting there in the dark, with absolutely no distractions, it was like I was eating them from a sensory deprivation tank or something. I was acutely aware of which strawberries were sweet, which were still too tangy, and so on.
While the moon shone into my bedroom window, I snuggled with Talu sideways across my bed and talked to Ned on my cell phone. "You don't have any POWER?" asked Ned, who'd probably never forget to pay a bill for four months. "You want to come to my house?"
"No, thank you. I'm happy," I said.
And I was.