Saturday, October 31, 2020

Power to the People

We lost electricity in my house in the wee hours of Thursday morning, abruptly and with no fanfare. The internet went first, because at 2:40 am Alexa noticed a loss of connectivity and automatically/cruelly/inexplicably turned on my bedside lamp, which was interrogation-room bright in my sleeping face. I stumbled through the house manually switching off lights the AI decided must dilate my exasperated pupils. 

Maybe it was warning me of the darkness to come. The precious light I take for granted soon disappeared, along with every modern appliance and running water, because our well has an electric pump.

Being powerless was an inconvenience for the first day or so. Now it's a massive grievance I carry like a battery-powered chip on my shoulder. I just drove a mile to hand wash a few pieces of clothing far past their socially acceptable expiration date, and they're hanging on deck chairs to dry. My husband brings in massive containers of water so we can scoop it into toilet tanks for a precious flush.

This would all be much worse if I weren't married to a generator guru, who has figured out a way to power all the super-necessary stuff like WiFi and Netflix. It's cool enough outside to keep me from being non-air-conditioned homicidal. (Florida and its hurricanes brought me close to the edge in ninety-five degree heat more than once. I thought I was escaping all that, but Zeta tracked me to the mountains of northeast Alabama.)

I offered Mom popcorn last night and actually placed the bag in the microwave before realizing how futile my life is right now.

Alabama Power now says they expect to restore our electricity by 11:45 pm on November 5th, over one full week after this tropical storm blustered through our state. I am having a hard time with that. While I fully appreciate the hard work and dedication of countless people trying to restore power, I am less than delighted with their bosses and boss's bosses. The company has been non-responsive to me and all the friends I know who've tried to report outages or get updates, failing to keep their website and phone lines functional. Meanwhile, I'm driving daily under three massive trees that are solely supported by power lines near our house. Our neighbor's power pole is splintered like a shipwreck, its power lines a tangle of electrical kelp.

I am clearly reliant on modern conveniences like flush toilets and whatnot, and grateful to my generator guru husband. He's that kind of guy: a (male) friend Jay once rescued when his Jeep broke down said he had the wheel off, a tent set up and something roasting on a spit by the roadside within ten minutes. If Alabama Power won't charge up to my downed power lines within a week, at least I have this guy on a white horse wielding extension cords and water jugs.

Love from Delta.