I sat watching Community with my sons. The fact that we had seen this episode many times before did not diminish our enjoyment. It is arguably one of the top ten television shows. My husband had gone to bed about 30 minutes earlier. He had given my youngest son the important chore of washing laundry so that he would have clean pants for work. We were waiting for the washing machine to finish so the laundry could be put into the dryer.
Struck by an important business idea, I dialed Richard. We are both chronic insomniacs so I was not deterred by the fact that it was 10 pm on a Thursday night. Suddenly, the only light in our house was emitted by a flickering candle. It illuminated a framed printed of Michael Scott from The Office with the quote “I’m not superstitious but I’m a little sititious.”
There was no more Troy and Abed in the Morning. No more laundry in the process of washing. No more devices charging. My sons both looked at me and I shrugged. On the other end of the phone, Richard shouted. We only live a few streets away. I assumed he too was suddenly plunged into darkness and afraid of the real possibility monsters under the bed. “Did I forget to pay the electric bill?” He asked no one in particular. I pulled back the curtains. “I know for sure I paid mine. Besides, the whole street is dark. No power as far as I can see.”
We ended our business call so Richard could pace anxiously and I could find a second candle to supplement our light. “I don’t know what to do now….” Eli said despairing from the couch. “You could just go to bed.” I replied. His voice bordered dangerously close to a whine- a definite sign that he really should just go to bed. “Mom! The washing machine was still running. Dad’s pants aren’t done. And now we can’t dry them.” It was a predicament. “Well, I guess I’ll stay up and take care of it.” Eli was not convinced. “How? What if it never comes back on?” I shrugged for a second time within the last 10 minutes. “Then your dad will go to work without pants.”
I texted Richard to see if he was alive. He was. I complained to him about the extreme inconvenience of the power outage. “Is your washer a top or front load?” He seemed to be unconcerned about my mini crisis and I wondered what difference the type of my washer would would make. “Top”. He responded quickly “I love a good top”. Which was immediately followed by “That came out wrong…” I rolled my eyes and clicked off my phone.
I received another alert on my phone. It was again from Richard- keeping me updated. A screenshot from a article posted by the local news. It read “A large portion… was without power Thursday evening due to a blown transformer…Officials were not sure when power would be restored.” I wrinkled my nose. Why was the article written in past tense? The electricity literally went out 20 minutes ago. It made it sound like a huge underground secretive operation staring Ryan Reynolds had just gone down across town. Some major planning must have gone into blowing up those transformers. Thank God for local news outlets! Otherwise I would never know that the officials were not sure when power would be restored. Here I thought the pandemic and murder hornets were going to be the end of the world. Turns out it was Ryan Reynolds leaving us without power or concrete guidance from city officials causing wide spread panic. How are we ever to survive the night or get clean pants for work?
The light in the living room flickered back on. Electronic sounds from various devices echoed through the house. “Go to bed, Eli. I’ll make sure the laundry gets done.” He leaned over to hug me and wished me good night. Not today, Ryan Reynolds.