Man, oh man, what a crazy few days I’ve had, you guys. I’ve gotten exactly squat done writing-wise in the last week or so.
It all began Thursday night, when this happened:
This is the view the morning after One Bad Mother of a thunderstorm came rolling through with 89mph winds. It’s a huge chunk of a maple tree that was convinced by the strong wind that maybe it would enjoy life in the front yard rather than the backyard it had called home for decades. There had been a wooden fence there.
Stuff like this happened all over the city; it wasn’t just me. Unfortunately, power poles also lost their fight against the fierce winds, snapping like twigs and cutting power to over 20,000 people at one point in the process. Our power went out around 7pm Thursday night.
We knew our line was okay, and even though it was very dark, it appeared that the damage was not all that bad in my neighborhood. Luckily, our devices were fully charged, so my wife and I spent the evening playing games and joking on Facebook about the storm. We had faith power would be back on soon, if not by the time we went to bed then sometime later in the night.
It didn’t come back on.
Being working stiffs with no other choice, we arose the next morning after a sweaty, muggy, crappy night’s sleep and went to work. News began to travel fast that people would be without power until late Friday night. Then it was Saturday around noon. Then it was by late Sunday. Then it was by Monday evening. I knew it would be different for different people, depending on their circumstances, but we began to face the possibility we might be without electricity all weekend.
By the time I came home Friday evening after a stressful day at work (in more ways than one), our house was an oven. We wisely decided that we would be slightly more comfortable in our basement, and took our flashlights and candles down to spend the night.
To compound the mounting stress, our garage door was acting wonky (technical term). It wouldn’t go all the way down, so I decided to have a look at it – Bad Idea #1. Then I thought I saw how to get the door down, I just needed to mess with it for a minute – Bad Idea #2. Ten minutes later, I had the garage door down, but was unable to get it up again. We had planned on going for a drive later to enjoy some air conditioning and charge up our phones, but no. We were trapped and powerless in our powerless home.
But then, a funny thing happened: we started talking.
Let me explain.
We talk to each other every night. Glancing up from our phones or tablets, between sending lame tweets (me) and between levels of Candy Crush (her). During commercials, between writing and blogging. Talking is always squeezed in between other things.
But on this night, with our phones dwindling away and no way to charge them, we put our mobile devices down and just…talked. We bitched about our day at work, talked about movies coming out, my favorite new TV show (Hannibal, if you’re interested), new music we wanted to check out. It was no deep philosophical stuff about the meaning of life; it was actually the same kinds of things we talk about every day. This time, though, there was a difference – we were both listening to each other. Really listening. We sat in our candle-lit basement and talked for hours. At eight o’clock we wondered how we’d kill the time; at midnight we wondered where the time had gone.
On Saturday, I called a professional to fix the garage door – Good Idea! We had been bracing for the worst, but were fortunate enough to get our power restored around 4:30pm Saturday. We did two things right away – turn on the a/c, and plug in our phones. I know, I know…but we had to charge them in case the power went out again. Luckily, it didn’t. We spent Sunday trying to relax and enjoy the conveniences we take for granted all too often. But I was reminded of something, and it seems silly that it took being literally trapped in my home to help me remember.
Sometimes it’s good to put your phone down and just sit and talk. And really listen.