Waiting for the lights to come back
on. Waiting to hear the whirring of my printer warming up. The phones ringing. The buzz of the refrigerator. The sound of ice dropping into the tray. The pilot light firing up the burners on my stove. The annoying voices of talking heads reporting what the politicians are saying and doing. Waiting and trying to pretend I’m not. Trying to be one of those people who take life as it comes. I thought that was me but maybe not.
It upsets me to hear the sound of spoiled food hitting the bottom of the trashcan. I miss hot showers. Reading on my kindle. (No wi fi). No watching Netlix on a big screen. All the privileges that make up my life. Hard to fathom not having these things on a daily basis.
Not being able to turn the heat or the air conditioner on. Not having friends to cook me dinner and remind me that this is not the end of the world.
It started on Thursday at 5 pm when I was watching “Call My Agent” on Netflix. The TV went blank and so did all my clocks and landline phones. I held my breath. This happens occasionally and it goes right back on. It did – for less than two seconds and it all went blank again. I checked with my neighbors. They had lost power also and we found out that a truck had smashed into a electrical pole on Mulholland Drive and Laurel Pass. It caught on fire, I could see the flames and the fire trucks out of my front window, rushing along Mulholland Drive. A helicopter flew overhead while they put out the fire in record time. But I still had no power. I called DWP to find out when it would be restored. 8:05 PM turned into 5:05 AM and
finally it was “no ETA.” Some things don’t adhere to time limits. Some things are completely out of our control. I keep reminding myself that I don’t have Covid. I don’t have family members dying. My life is not in danger. I don’t live under the 101 freeway with a shopping cart and a grungy dog, holding up a cardboard sign.
For three days, it was all about candles and flashlights and trying not to trip over anything. I became a champ at making coffee by lighting the pilot with a match, using a paper towel for a filter and drinking it black. I ate out (thank God we can do such things now) and I went to bed early. All of that was tolerable. But being all alone with myself
with no distractions was a gargantuan challenge. It was me and my heartbeat. My breath. My reeling thoughts. In all good conscience, I can’t compare three days without electricity to a pandemic that was taking people’s lives in huge numbers, but in a small way it felt similarly isolating since I was left holding my own hand. Learning to do that seems to be a lifelong practice and now that the power is back on and my refrigerator is full, I want to remember how to comfort myself when the going gets rough.
Today, I’m taking a long hot shower, watching Netflix on my flat screen TB, making hot coffee and eating gelato. One last thought. What happened to the driver of that truck? I was so busy trying to keep myself occupied and being frustrated with so much inconvenience, I forgot to ask.