We lost our power, but we expected we would and were prepared.
More accurately, my husband and I were prepared. We had food, flashlights, and fully charged phones and I made sure I was freshly showered on a frequent basis. The dude, not so much. The lack of modern conveniences threw him a bit.
When he was little, we used to have “lights out” nights. We’d turn everything in the house off and navigate with flashlights. He thought it was exciting, so the idea of a power outage was less scary. Now that he spends most of his time in a dark basement playing video games, electric light is overrated.
Still, when the power went out, he asked when we were leaving for the hotel. “We’re in the middle of a hurricane, dude,” I told him. “We aren’t going anywhere.” We had reservations starting Wednesday night in case it was like this summer’s derecho and we’d be without power for days. Since it’s not 110 degrees outside and we have a propane heater, we weren’t too worried about discomfort. Our definition of discomfort is different from our son’s.
After the lights went out, my husband and I executed the plan. 1) Grab the flashlights – check, 2) Call the electric company-check, 3) turn off all of the UPS units so the infernal beeping will stop – check. 4) set the backup battery on the sump pump – check. 5) get a good book, sit down and read.
I should have known my son was not with the program when I saw him working the buttons on his phone. I asked if he was texting his friend across the street since it looked like they had power. He informed me that yes, they did have power, but at the moment he was downloading a flashlight app.
Yes. A flashlight app. His LED would last a few minutes before it burned through his battery since it was the end of the day, and recharging is something that happens only when you sleep. When I handed him a flashlight, you’d think I’d told him to rub two sticks together and cook us dinner. His father was less amused, and told him to turn off his phone so it was available for emergencies. I couldn’t see his face, but I could feel the glare from across the room. The phone stayed on.
“What am I supposed to do?” At this point both of my husband and I were snuggled on the sofa, each of us with a book. It was kind of nice, actually. Reading is something both of us would make more time for if we could.
I have this great book called “It’s a book.” It’s a picture book where a donkey asks a monkey what he’s doing. He’s reading a book. The donkey asks all sort of ridiculous questions about whether it needs a mouse, or a password. The final line is “It’s a book, jackass.”
I was so tempted to hand it to my son. I couldn’t see my husband’s face, but I could feel “get a book, jackass” from across the sofa.
The dude kept texting. Probably something like my rents r lame
We got our power back mid-morning on Tuesday. Everything is back to normal. He’s heading over to a friend’s and he’ll text us when he needs to be picked up.
“Dude, did you charge your phone when the power came back on?”
Silence. Blink. Blink.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph by Eric Wustenhagen © 2010 Creative Commons