The last time we were without power was during the ice storm of 2013. I was at Mom's house and it was good I was to bail the basement, keep the fire going, keep the house above freezing so all of the pipes didn't freeze. The temperature was falling into the teens at night. There was a spring running through the basement and before the cold hit, torrential rains had fallen, so the spring was a torrent.
If I hadn't kept the level of water below a foot, the water heater, then the heater, then perhaps the entire electrical system would have gotten flooded and the house would have been unlivable for months. I spent twenty-four hours a day for three days just doing those things, bailing, cutting wood, feeding the fire, feeding my mother, feeding myself, being a good son, and at the end of it, I was gassed. Around two in the morning, on day three, I went to the basement with my flashlight, saw the water was just about to hit the electronic ignition for the water heater, thought about bailing in the dark, decided to give up, lit the holy candle the priest had given me for just a such an occasion, said a prayer, went back to my chair, mom refused to give me room to live in for reasons that would make a good novel, got comfortable, blew out the candle, and within minutes heard the pump kick on, exactly at two.
An hour later the basement was dry, I'd lit the water heater, turned on the heater, and we were back in business. I learned after that utilities wait until non-peak hours to restart power so the draw doesn't overload the grid. It was my hope to never have to survive another three days as grueling as that. Little did I know what lay in store for me, but that's fodder for another novel.
On Friday, the bomb cyclone hit, and despite the assurances of people at the library that the snow wasn't supposed to stick, at noon when there was an inch on the ground already and it wasn't slowing down, I warned everybody that we were heading into a weather event and it was time to go. No one heeded my warning.
I'd walked that morning because of a wind advisory and I walked back to the house and found that the power was already out. I didn't worry. This wasn't expected to be that bad, but then it got worse, and worse, and fortunately I had fresh batteries in the transistor radio so I heard about all kinds of crazy commuting problems. I had everything I need to weather the storm,, so I hunkered down.
The routine of living without power was still familiar to me from the last outage. Don't try to read after it gets dark. Don't try and do things in the cold. Just get in bed and listen to the radio or meditate on projects until it's sleepy time. So by six-thirty I'd taken my shower, had brushed my teeth, was preparing for bed when the phone rang. I never answer the house phone because it's not our deal, but this time I figured I should since it could be the power company. It was the neighbor, the one with the generator that sounds like a fleet of incoming helicopters, or ten, immigrant landscaping crews. He invited me over to hang.
Not only did they have on the sixers' game, by much gadget wizardry by the lady of the house, since cable was out, through her phone, to her computer, to the big screen, which was now a monitor, she's in the communications business, they had dinner, and great wine, and despite having brushed my teeth, I ate and we talked, and then at ten they made it clear that it was time for me to go, and I did. It was so nice to get to know them, after a year. And I imagine I dispelled at least half of the rumors they'd heard about me. Maybe a third.
The communications women had told me that power wasn't expected to be out too long. I did what we do when power is out. I kept the freezer closed. I heated the house with the oven and got it up to sixty during the day, livable. I read, and did chores such as cleaning up the yard of debris. I waited. That's what you do a lot when the power is out, wait for the power to come back on because so much of our lives are bound to power.
Yesterday I got a paper, read about the devastation, and realized how easy I had it. I had heat. I had a stove to cook on. It wasn't freezing out, just cold. There was no spring running through the basement. No old mother to care for. Just me. I did some writing on a piece that is the beginning of my novel, my new beginning, Making Noyes from Lehman Switzerland to Main Line Legend, and decided the beginning I have, that someone was able to attach something to so no one could read it, is the best beginning, with a few tweaks. So I'll write that today on Facebook and send it to all of my followers, because I say F... you to those people who steal my work. We'll see what becomes of you in the end.
And today I heard about the Oscars and that The Shape of Water won and it sounds pretty cool, not a load of crap like Black Panther. And I heard about all of this call for more minorities in the industry and I wanted to ask, what is a minority? Are Jews still a minority? Because if they are, what's the point.
Let's give jobs to people who are competent of any description. I don't want a world where truck drivers become cocktail waitresses and writers become house painters all because there's a hierarchy of thieves who always get their way and you have to do their bidding. You want more women in the business, fine. Then say it. You want stories with minorities? Write better stories. Let's battle it out. Let's remember that it was two, white Jewish guys who wrote Black Panther, not some kid from the hood. And let's remember that it was a genteel, white woman who wrote, To Kill a Mockingbird. Let's not become all hung up on the idea that it's the person who writes the message is the message, because that's just more crap thinking and not worthy of consideration.
But seeing how the world is, it's probably what will be adopted and the reasons are because the powers that run the show want it that way. They don't care who writes, or who acts, or who directs, as long as they control the message, the studios, the theaters, and how the audience can be manipulated to adore limited thinking.
Now I have to go. I have to write. I'll answer and comment tomorrow, or later today if I have time. Thank you.