Friday, January 23, 2009


Jenny and I were sitting at home when the power just went out. Looking outside, it was clear that the whole neighborhood was dark. Lights danced in nearby windows, dogs barked, and a few folks gathered on the street, talking softly. Jenny and I grabbed some candles and then found the radio-flashlight.

Crack. Crank. Crank. AM radio! FM too!

No news on the blackout - but twirling the tiny, plastic dial, I found a late 1940s radio play, Bob Hope's "Ghost Breakers." Sitting in the dark, lit by flickering candles, we listened to a cheesy story that was interspersed with jokes about Harry Truman, Jack Benny, and the Ku Klux Klan.

Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. Watch out! Behind you! He has a gun! Bang Bang!

The cats settled on our laps and we enjoyed the vibe. The house all dark, filled with the tinny sounds of 1940s-comedy. Then I wondered: will it be like this if our country really goes to hell? Sitting at home, listening to the radio?

Jenny, often more practical than I during these sorts of events, decided she'd had enough of our forced historicism. We could just drive to a nearby coffee shop, she offered.

Well, yes, I suppose we could.

Our car was locked behind a closed electrical garage door, and we had to pull the string and open it manually. It was like we were figuring out some Boy Scout badge skill.

A few minutes later, we entered the part of town where the outage had not struck. I was sad, seeing how small our temporary catastrophe proved to be. Beyond Skypark, our neighborhood, people are watching television, seeing movies, living their normal lives.

Even further beyond... it's a bit frightening to contemplate.

Now we're in a coffee shop, sipping pricey stuff, listening to some sultry sounding guitar music, and grooving on the wireless.

It's cool, I guess. But I want to go home soon - time traveling to the age after the Depression and before the Space Age.


Vinnie said...

Let The Orgy Begin!

(just to quote a school chum of mine to whom you bear a resemblance)

Andrew Wood said...

Oh yeah, I remember that chum! He was quite the goofball!

Jeff Sockwell said...

Blackouts are a blessing in disguise. They strip away our distractions and force us to actually be with the people around us. The starkness and clarity of silence is absolute: no television, no internet, even the hum of the air conditioning is absent. I'm no Luddite, but sometimes it's nice to be removed from our miles-apart-in-the-same-room existence and be thrust into one tiny, common world.