Monday, June 13, 2005

Electricity, Electricity

E-lec-trici-ty…remember the Saturday morning Schoolhouse Rock? It was bouncing through my head at about 2 o’clock this morning. Strange, I know. But there is a good reason. My electricity was out.

It’s nothing new – being without electricity for a few hours, I mean. Our service was sort of iffy when I was a kid. Probably because we lived so far out in the country that if something happened to a power line 6 miles away, it affected our service. You know it has to be bad when you know the “electric guy” on a first-name basis. The dog even knew him since he was a regular visitor at our house. It was nothing to wake up on a cold winter morning without power, or for it to go off for an hour or so during the day in the spring. You just get used to it.

When we lived in Austin, being without electricity for short periods of time was normal. Yes, even in the big city. Or especially in the big city, I should say. It seems that every time we got 83 rain drops and one bolt of lightning, somewhere (or lots of somewheres) in Austin the power would go out. And of course, it usually took out quite a few traffic signals with it. Austinites were accustomed to this, and Traffic Police were rarely dispatched to those intersections…it was like a game, almost. You see, when a traffic light goes out, you must treat it as a four-way stop (yes, I just told you something educational). This was a marvelous thing if you were in a short line and would normally have to wait for a light to cycle through all the way. Of course, nobody actually stopped at the new imaginary stop signs…it was rolling stops all the way. I was glad when we bought our house and moved to a suburb - our electricity worked all the time!

The last two storms we’ve had here, our power has gone out. The first time, I wasn’t surprised it went out, but I was surprised at the timing. You see, we were expecting 80 mph winds, so I figured something would go haywire. It did, but long before the winds picked up or the rain really started. Maybe it was a preventive power outage – you know, to keep people from having false hope that it would stay on all night. It too, was in the middle of the night, and I had trouble sleeping because of it. Last night, I didn’t even know we were expecting a storm, and I woke up right as the electricity flickered and went out. That was about 12:30. Needless to say, since the E-lec-trici-ty song was going through my head at 2am, I had trouble going back to sleep. Since I had so much time on my hands, I actually called the electric company to report the outage, using my obnoxiously bright cell phone as a flashlight. The power finally came back on, and I reset the alarm clock and settled back down.

As I was lying there trying to go back to sleep, I wondered why I was having so much trouble sleeping without the electricity on. It’s not like we use a night-light or anything. The dog even freaked out a little last night, although I think that had more to do with the fact he needed to go out and he didn’t want to do his business in the rain. I realized when the power finally did come back on how many things there really are in the house that you don’t pay attention to until they’re not working; the fridge, the A/C (which I was very thankful for by the time it finally came back on), and the smoke detector that blinks a weird shade of green in the corner of the bedroom ceiling. So what else do we not pay attention to until it’s not there? All kinds of stuff, I’m sure. Think about that the next time you’re stuck somewhere, waiting for something that you didn’t realize you’d miss until it was gone. Pin It

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