It’s that thing that hits two full seconds after the power goes off. It settles way down deep in your bones and gets comfortable while causing you, the bearer of it, some extreme misery. You start thinking of all the things you could do if only you had lights by which to see. And when it happens at six o’clock in the evening, there’s not much daylight coming through the windows anymore. Especially if it’s raining and it was a thunderstorm that robbed you of the much needed electricity.
Every room you enter for the next two hours has you flipping the light switch out of habit, cursing the power company, and running into something you’d forgotten was there. If only there was working electricity, you could at least do a load of laundry. You could still finish up those dishes, but you don’t know how long the power will stay off, and a lukewarm shower tomorrow morning in complete darkness will be much better than an ice cold one. So you conserve.
There’s always the iPhone to keep you occupied. You could use it to crush candies. As you’re flipping another switch, cursing, and bumping into something to find your phone, you realize that you may need the remaining battery power to set a viable alarm for tomorrow morning. You can’t waste that. So you conserve.
You could read. The little light that’s left in the evening sky is not enough through the windows to read a real book, so you could get out the Kindle. It even has a battery-powered back-light. You do have that download you purchased not too long ago and never got around to reading. Switch, curse, thump. You finally find it only to realize that you haven’t charged it in a while and the battery’s about dead. So you can’t read, either.
Without an unlimited battery life on that phone you’re so attached to, and in conservation of the battery for tomorrow’s alarm, there’ll be no FaceBooking either.
You could get out that basket of yarn, an activity normally saved for cooler weather, but you can’t see to make those stitches in the darkened living room. You begin to wonder if there’s enough battery power on the laptop to get you through an episode of something Netflixy.
You’ve long since forgotten where the flashlight is, so you have to take a candle to the bathroom because, without windows, it’s the darkest room in the house. At least in there you know where everything is.
You could take a nap, but if you’re like me you know that just as soon as your eyes get heavy you’ll get a text or a call on the iPhone when the house phone produces no response. After several attempts at napping over the years, I’ve given up on the possibility of ever having one. This time would have been different, except that it wasn’t.
I have classes starting again on Monday, and the thought occurred to me that without the television or the Candy Crush, maybe I could study a little in preparation. So now we’re back to the ‘no light-no read’ thing.
As I was sitting in the rocker watching the dimly lit rain through the living room window, I began to reflect back on my grandmother’s stories about how they had no electricity growing up, and that they still managed to be more productive than just sitting in a chair and watching it rain. My mind began to drift to those television series made in the 70s that depicted a time before my grandmother was born. I started to wonder what Ma Ingalls would be doing at seven o’clock on a rainy evening. I had no socks to darn, nor did I have an oil lantern to provide the necessary light by which to darn them. My mental list took over again, and as I got near to the end of things I could be doing if only I had the light or the electricity to do them, the power restored and I made moves to do absolutely none of them. It was time for Everybody Loves Raymond.
And my chair was pretty comfortable.