Sunday, October 24, 2010

In the Dark

And so I've begun my life as a mole...

Matthew has been scurrying around the house throughout the afternoon, down to the basement, up from the basement, “Is the light off?” he yells, and I roll my eyes and say, “YES!” like I'm told. He is doing electrical work, and I've learned, that trumps my housework. Every time I go to vacuum the soft hum of the house deadens, and again, the power is out. It is now night and I have candles lit around the room and will type as long as the computer battery allows. It goes without saying: I am sick of electrical work. I am sick of that nerd-boy running up and down with his (really, MY) miner's flashlight. In reality, I just want to watch television. In reality, I cannot go three hours without electricity.

That's not to say I'm not in complete awe that Matt can do this. Like, his installing a new shower light this afternoon? I would just have used the dingy bulb and fixture that was there...forever. But, I think, in fairness, the power should go back on when daylight is lost. And he should listen to his wife.

Our circuits are screwy, so when he's working in, say, the upstairs master bath, the living room and half the kitchen will also be out. Invariably, the internet is always out. Invariably, whatever room I was in loses electricity. Invariably, I grow bitchy.

But I'd like to acknowledge I have some pioneer prowess in me: I cooked our dinner, pea soup, by manually lighting our gas stove. I think it says a lot that I am proud of this quasi achievement. I am not into the outdoors or roughing it, but I want to be. A new Eastern Mountain Sports superstore opened near us and I have no reason to go in, but I want to. Upright kayaks sandwich it's sliding doors and, even to my staunchly suburbanite self, create an allure I can't quite shake.

I want to hike, but I want a hot shower afterward. I want to camp out, but head to a hotel for the night after s'mores are eaten. I want to fish, but not eat my catch. I want to buy thick wool socks and hiking boots, but not actually wear them.

My idea of camping involves a total of one night, luxurious air mattresses, flushing toilets, showers, and Doritos and chocolate. When I was younger my parents sent me to Girl Scout camp every summer in the Pocono Mountains. My time there included none of things. You guessed it: I hated it. There were spiders everywhere. We pooped in latrines infested with flies and they were so foul that breathing solely through your mouth was your only saving grace. There were no lights, and I remember having to navigate my way to them, and through the woods, with just my flashlight at three in the morning. This was a very brave thing to do for a 11-year-old girl, but I was even more terrified of waking my grouchy tent-mates (it was even harder to navigate the social norms of adolescence).

Which brings us back to today. The power is still out. Do you know how quiet a house gets with no power? No fridge on. No electrical equipment, even off, receiving power? It's, well, lovely and creepy at the same time. There's a stillness that's haunting and....and wait. The power just went back on. Holy hell, the power just went back on.  Well....I guess my work is down here.  A click here, a click there and I'll post this bad boy.  Now, if you'll excuse me, some inconsequential, mindless television program must be watched.


  1. I love this! Firstly because I love it when repetition is used to great effect; secondly, because I completely agree about those dang Eastern Mtn. Sports stores! I ain't got no business in there really, but I can throw three hours to the wind ogling sleeping bags, headlamps and tin, Little House on the Prairie-like dishes.

    Of course, all of your posts are magnificently articulated, but this is delightfully well-written. Charming and funny, just like you :)

  2. Why thank you, Danita! I did notice I put "a" and not "an" before "11 year old" so I'm sort of reeling from that, but your comment made it all better!

    I hope you're ready for some funnel cake fryin' fun! (With or w/o the funnel cake our little get together will be the highlight of my week.)

  3. Sounds like cottage camping might be perfect for you. All (mostly) the comforts of home with lots of nature and roasting of marshmallows just outside the door. But toilets and microwaves inside. :)

  4. BrightSide,
    That is EXACTLY what I want! Now I have a term for it!