Friday, September 9, 2011

Power Outage, San Diego, 9-8-2011

I guess I take having electricity for granted, because when even when I found out that power could be out for days I was still walking into rooms with my flashlight in one hand and flipping the lightswitch with the other. It is so easy to take things for granted.

I don't have any exciting adventures to report, no severe deprivations. At first we figured this was just a temporary power outage, but when my Mom called to tell us that the power failure was widespread, we got out the portable radios and got the flashlights and lanterns ready. We decided to keep the refrigerator closed to preserve the food inside it, and it seems to have worked, except that I think I will toss a steak that was thawing.

My husband and I react in different ways. After it got too dark to read he listened to the news for a while, then had a glass of wine and went to sleep. I stayed up reading by booklight, and left a few candles burning so that if I got up in the night I wouldn't have to fumble around for a flashlight.  He says he does not understand why I would use up valuable resources just to read, but I think it I'm just trying to maintain normality, like the British in India who maintained the customs and costumes of a cooler climate in spite of the sweltering heat.

from W. H. Auden's poem "September 1, 1939)


Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

Today the electricity is back on.  I am reading Time Magazine's special edition on the aftermath of 9-11 and thinking about how much can change in a few minutes. I think also of Robert Burn's poem "To a Mouse" (translation)


.....The best laid schemes of mice and men

Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
Still you are blest, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

I will endeavor to enjoy today.  Who knows what will happen next?

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