Missed For Awhile (2016Feb25)


Thursday, February 25, 2016                                           8:52 AM

A transformer exploded down the street last night. It was right in the middle of a ‘dark and stormy’—with gusts so strong they made the house-frame groan, and a steady downpour punctuated with slaps of torrents—as if drops had become buckets for a second—and the wind howling in the trees all night. It was quite dramatic—had we not lost power, I’d have enjoyed it immensely. Even without the electricity, it was a lovely night.

Even after we lost power, the transformer took its time dying—it resembled a just-landed UFO for a while—glowing and snapping and humming, dying down for a second, then surging back again—until the ultimate detonation. Then, for hours afterward, that explosion was echoed by fusillades from a tremendous thunderstorm—I slept like a baby full of adrenaline.

The power came back on promptly at eight am this morning—previous winter storm outages have lasted days, and we fully expected that Claire’s major ice cream purchase was gonna be money down the drain (Why do we always stock up on ice cream before a power outage?) but without drifts of snow and patches of ice, work-crews made a ten-hour project out of the repair. We’d just got our toilet flushing again—and here was my son, walking down to the lake with a bucket to get a by-hand flush-full of water. He was happily surprised to be sitting on the throne again, contemplating another trip to the lake, when the power returned—talk about good timing.

So here I am, awakened early by the lights and TV coming back on, enjoying coffee from a working Mr. Coffee machine, reveling in the power and luxury of power and plumbing. After the fact, it occurred to me that I had watched the weather channel warnings, I’d anticipated a power outage (high winds in heavily-wooded Westchester virtually guarantees it) yet I hadn’t thought to fill the bathtub in anticipation. Apparently, reaching my sixtieth birthday doesn’t make me infallible at all.

This winter has got me thinking about global warming—the warmest winter ever recorded has a lot of good things to offer. It makes it hard to think of it as a bad thing. But I figure it’s like credit cards—they seem to make everything so easy, until your balance due gets so big you can’t pay it off and spend the rest of your life in debt. Warm winters are wonderful—until the consequences show up. Still, my easily-chilled bones have trouble not loving the hell out of a warm winter.

So now the power’s back, the plumbing works, the weather is positively balmy, for February, and I’ve just had a wonderful night’s sleep, instead of staying up late watching TV. I highly recommend trouble as the best way to appreciate the good things in life—you can’t appreciate what you never lose. We so rarely have the opportunity to be cold, or hungry, or exhausted—but everything is so delicious after it’s been missed for awhile.

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