Monday, March 31, 2014

Candlelight, AM Radio, & You

Last Thursday night, we were preparing for a gourmet dinner of Super-Lo fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and basketball, when a lightning bolt exploded like a neutron bomb in my back yard and knocked out all the power. I screamed a spontaneous epithet regarding the almighty, which was probably unwise in this situation, and my wife felt an ozone wave shoot down her left arm. Our neighbor across the street was outside with her daughter and not only felt the same sensation, but the child was knocked off of her feet. She claimed that she could "hear the sizzle." Suffice it to say, it was the closest bolt of lightning to come my way. We were prepared for a power outage ever since the hysterical "Snowpocalypse 2014" forecasts our local TV weathermen predicted last month and our flashlights were nearby, so after we checked our drawers and pried the dogs off the ceiling, Melody lit a candle while I cursed the darkness.
I immediately suggested that we go to a sports bar, but Melody envisioned scenes of rowdy, college jersied superfans chugging pitchers of beer, and there was still time enough for Light, Gas, and Water to be on the case. Besides, everyone expects the electricity to return soon, even with an hour or so inconvenience. So, candles burning and fresh batteries in the radio, we settled in to wait for those guys to do what they do. It had been awhile since I had rolled up and down the AM dial, but we found a station playing romantic music from the forties, made more nostalgic by the static caused by the storm outside. The music seemed to grow cornier the longer we listened, but after darkness had fallen and they played "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree," I couldn't take it anymore and preferred silence to Tony Orlando and Dawn. Melody and I were forced to talk to each other without the television in the background serving as white noise. We discussed many things while waiting for Godot to restore the power, but he never came. While I am usually calm in a crisis, my wife tends to become a bit fidgety. While I was relaxing in my chair, she was peeking out the windows searching for a truck with lights on it. I reminded her of the "watched pot" proverb, but it didn't help.
The only thing that worked on my cell phone were the games, so I began playing Bejeweled Blitz as a form of Zen meditation during the terrible thunderstorm. Melody inquired, "So, now you're playing a game?," to which I replied, "What else should I be doing?" We laughed at the ridiculousness of it, but I put the phone down when I realized that someone's nerves were on edge. I found the NCAA Tourney game on the radio, but since we didn't know the players, we might as well have been listening in Bulgaria. We had resigned ourselves to the possibility of days without power and were only opening the refrigerator sparingly to save the frozen food when we heard the loud talk of rough men in the driveway. It was LG&W to the rescue and soon power began returning to the houses all around us, just not ours. I remained calm but my wife forged out into the storm to talk with the crew. As it turned out, they were about to leave when Melody pointed out three additional houses still in the dark. She even showed them the utility pole closest to the strike. A brave, raincoated soul began ascending the pole and located the problem. "Only a matter of time," I thought, "and I can still catch the second game." A sudden blast shattered my anticipation. It wasn't like the bunker bomb shock of the lightning strike. It was more like incoming artillery. But the transformer had exploded and thrown the entire neighborhood back into total darkness.
While Melody apologized to our neighbor over the phone for the renewed blackout, I was thinking about which friends I could impose upon to slouch on their couch and ask them to turn on the game. But it was late now and we may as well face the darkness. It would be hours before a maintenance crew could fix the damage. At least assured that the process was underway, Melody grew calmer. She even danced in the dark to the big band music. In what seemed like waiting out a nine inning ballgame, the lamps finally came alive and the coolerator began humming. One problem remained. We had no cable or Internet. This meant dealing with Comcast, which was more frightening than the thunderstorm. After spending half the night on the phone with a service rep who sent continuous, useless signals to the cable box, I was assured that if I called first thing in the morning, a field technician would come right over to fix the problem. That was Thursday. Our cable TV and Internet service were finally restored on Sunday, just in time for me to write about this little slice of life. I was disappointed to have missed the basketball games until I heard the results. Both the Vols and Grizzlies lost and Kentucky won. I would have been more depressed had I watched the games. It's good to be rewired now that the storm has passed. Maybe next time the TV weather guys could give us a "heads up."


Craig Fuller said...

Too funny. Glad you kids made the most of it. I experienced a lightning strike like that once and it was a truly humbling experience. And poof...he was gone!

davethedog said...

Flashlight + a Book = what's the problem?

tom wess said...

we had a similar strike in collierville but no outage. We forget how important electricity is until it strikes in the form of lightening