The Night the Lights Went Out (tf)

We did not lose power the night Stevens did. The storm tossed the house around pretty good but the lights stayed on.

Generally we’re forced to dig for the candles when some drunk rams a telephone pole. Less Mother Nature and more Human Nature. But the end result is the same. But, dare I say, it’s worse for us. Stevens does not have a 9 year old girl and a 12 year old girl whining about the “internet not working”. Within 10 minutes, they’re “starving” and “bored”. The suggestion that they read by candle-light is treated as a joke. They keep flipping switches, as if all the lights need is a reminder that they’re supposed to be working. They commence a running monologue of all the TV shows they are missing, and how soul destroying this is. They keep telling me to “fix it”. They moan that we’ll never have electricity again and that they’ll soon die.

After a while I don’t hear them. I love it when the lights go out. I sit at the kitchen table surrounded by candles and a small mountain of books, knowing that my phone is out too (voip line you see). Nothing makes me happier than my phone and TV not working. I’m always intentionally “forgetting” to put the phone back on the hook and getting in trouble for it, or unplugging the TV by mistake and “wondering” why it’s not working. Nobody is really buying the innocence routine anymore. But now, I’m in the clear. We’re in the dark…..and I do love it so.

Reading by candlelight is one of life’s great mini-pleasures. The way the light shimmers on the page….like the surface of a lake on a calm day. The way you’re forced to concentrate more on the words. You can’t simply toss yourself on the closest couch or chair. You have to plan. You have to sit up or risk setting yourself on fire. The electric light was a great invention and all that, but it kinda made us take words for granted….which could be one of the reasons most American’s can’t find Pakistan on a map even if they were spotted the Middle East.

I could pretend the telephone was a great invention but I’d be lying. It’s a wretched thing that should be banned. If you want to talk, go hang out on somebody’s porch swing. If you want to catch up with somebody far away, send a letter. Anything that blurts out a sudden noise multiple times announcing the arrival of someone you probably don’t want to talk to anyway is not my idea of advancing man-kind. It’s like getting junk mail 50 times a day.

How did we get here anyway? Ah yes, the lights went out. Well, my joy was short-lived because they came back on after less than an hour. My kids did not starve to death, nor did they die from under-exposure to television. And I only got through a few pages of one book before I was forced to blow out the candles.

It was fun while it lasted though.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on May 5, 2011.

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