18 September 2008

Step One: Don't piss off Mother Nature

You know how sometimes when you were a kid, you may have intentionally backtalked your mom? Just to see if you could get away with it, cause you knew she would never actually do anything to you, because she is your mom and she loves you?

DUDE. Mother Nature? Is so not like that. If you sass her, she will smack you DOWN.

Since early Friday evening, I have been living life without power. If you had suggested to me a week ago that I could make it one night without the cool comforts of air conditioning, I would have laughed in your face and told you that you were crazy. I basically AM global warming, okay? My house is an icebox. But, thanks to Ike and some downed power lines and transformers, I have been living power-free this past week. And honestly? It ain't that bad.

No, seriously. Hear me out. Okay, so, sure, you can't do a lot of the things you're maybe used to, like washing your clothes or blowdrying your hair or eating any food that doesn't come out of a tin or a box. And it's best not to mention how you feel on Monday nights, knowing the rest of the world is watching Gossip Girl and you are watching mosquitos feast on your skin. But living without power is, in some strange way, incredibly freeing.

Dig my daily routine:

1) Wake up from state of semi-slumber, due to the stillness of the air in my bedroom and the fact that the mold is making my allergies go beserk.

2) Shuffle way to bathroom in the dark. Turn on battery operated paper lantern and light candles.

3) Take shower, which would be sort of romantic and softly lit, if it weren't so cold.

4) Dress. Try to match stuff.

5) Feed cats using light from a flashlight beam. Stub toe. (my toes are really hurting, fact.)

7) Comb wet hair.

8) Drive to work.

9) Blow dry hair.

10) Be happy to be at work, because there's air conditioning.

11) Try to consume one meal made with fresh ingredients. Pretty much give this up for a bad job every day, since not much is open, and those restaurants that are open aren't serving full menus.

12) Go home while it's still light out.

13) Sit outside in front yard (under tree that may end up going through my bedroom window) and read. Visit with my neighbors and their puppies, as everyone is hanging around outside.

14) Drink lots of wine. (PRO TIP: Wine does not go bad.)

15) When the sun sets, go to bed.

That's it. No other responsibilities or chores; no working late into the night, no tv or internet or even staying up late to read. No cleaning or laundry or any of the number of chores or hobbies I use to fill up my nights because I always feel vaguely guilty for "not getting things accomplished." If my daily routine were any simpler, I'd be in a coma.

Someone asked me today how I could stand to live without power, and as I was explaining that it wasn't really all that bad, what I was struck by was how quickly I'd slipped into my new lifestyle. It's second nature to debate whether a store or restaurant will be open now. I know I'll have to dedicate a few hours' time in order to get gas or ice. I've got a million ways to jazz up triscits and wheat thins now. I've only been living in this surreal half-life since Friday, but already it seems normal to me. It made me wonder about the resilience of humans as a species and how good most of us are at picking up a new routine, new niche, new life. Maybe that's why, despite sometimes our best efforts, we are thriving as a species. It's our ability to survey the situation, file it away and ask, "okay, what next?"

All that said, as I drove home tonight and saw the lights in the neighbors' windows, I felt my heart sing with joy. Getting power restored just in time for the America's Next Top Model makeover episode?? I am like 99.9% sure that's scientific proof of a higher power.


treehavn said...

So basically you're urban camping? (It was the wine tip and hygeine issues that convinced me. Whenever I come back from camping, feeling all aglow at having communed with nature, I am shocked to discover that I now have the skin of a ruddy peasant.)

olivia said...

I love that wine tip. Also I think probably it's a more communal experience than usual--your evenings sound lovely, with people outside and stuff.

poshdeluxe said...

this was a really lovely, reflective post! i'm amazed at the peace you've found amidst a lack of electricity.

i think i'm most impressed with the fact that you take cold showers. EEEE.

and thanks for the pro tip, pro wino.

Alyson said...

You suck because you have power and I don't. Maybe this whole not having power thing is cool, but not when you have a 2-year-old. So, we are living with my parents. Sleeping on a couch bed. And I'm 6 months pregnant. That is not a good combination. My back hurts. A LOT. That is all.

Erin said...

urban camping, Emily. Yes, exactly! Which is about as close to the great outdoors as I will ever get.

Olivia, it did make me feel like being a kid again. I don't think I've spent that much time talking to my neighbors since I was 8.

Sarah, Pro Tip number two: drink all the beer first before it gets warm!

Aly, still no power? Yeesh. Well that's what you get for living far away from me. CenterPoint is punishing you. I saw that you called last night - I was working. And now I'm going to Louisiana. But I'll call you on Thursday! Take care of Sophia and my tiny little nephew!

Meredith said...

I'm caught up on your blog! You're posting again! My heart sings with joy!