Andrea's column: PerspectiveLast Thursday, just a bit before five p.m., the electricity went off in our house. There hadn’t been any storm warnings or crazy, howling winds so it took my husband and me by surprise.
Last Thursday, just a bit before five p.m., the electricity went off in our house. There hadn’t been any storm warnings or crazy, howling winds so it took my husband and me by surprise.
He had just put a pot of chicken noodle soup on the stove and turned on the oven so we could toast some sourdough bread. I had just finished rinsing strawberries. A few feet away, the sheets from our bed were sloshing around in the washing machine. On the other side of the room, the television was on.
Then, there was a beep from the alarm system and the house was still. “What happened?” I asked. “Are we supposed to have a storm?” My husband assured me we were not.
I tried to phone a neighbor but the line was dead. My husband handed me his cell phone and neighbors to my right and left both confirmed a power outage. Usually when this happens, the electricity returns quickly. After 20 minutes, though, we put away the cold food and began the search for flashlights and batteries.
The large camping light we bought years ago after a big storm was right where it was supposed to be. My hubby’s face had a look of relief. That turned to dismay when his investigation as to why it didn’t work led him to a corroded battery. “Well,” we have extras, don’t we?” I asked. His face said otherwise.
We found one small working flashlight but no extra batteries. It wasn’t dark yet so we decided to make the bed. Because they are so expensive, we own only one set of king-sized sheets and they were soaking wet. We made do with a queen-sized sheet for the bottom and a twin laid cross-wise on top. My husband went into the kitchen to put together two plates of cheese and crackers. And strawberries, too.
If my story so far has you thinking I was calm, feeling adventurous or even romantic, I should set you straight. My husband had gotten extra batteries from a neighbor for our lone flashlight, but still, I had begun to panic. He kept telling me everything would be all right and the lights would be on soon and I just got mad. And mean.
“Why weren’t you a Boy Scout?” I asked with a touch of venom. “If you had been a Scout, we would be prepared for catastrophes like this.
“We’ve got candles,” he said “We can light those.” I told him the matches in the drawer had probably turned to dust; that the couple who supplied them for the smokers at their wedding got divorced in the last century. Besides, I said, since he hadn’t been a Scout, he probably shouldn’t be trusted around matches.
I stormed into the bedroom and sat in the dark. He brought in a tray with a bowl of berries and a plate with little wedges of cheese atop my favorite crackers. Next to them was a glass of wine and the flashlight. Fifteen minutes later, the TV in the living room went on. The washing machine started to churn. I turned on MSNBC and listened to Chris Matthews’ report on the continuing devastation out east. People who had lost their homes. Lost a loved one. Lost everything.
When my husband came back with his food, I gestured towards the television screen. My eyes were teary. I wanted to give him a big hug. Tell him how sorry I was. That I don’t deserve him. I was afraid the look on his face would tell me I was right.