Tonight was one of those nights where everyone lost their fucking minds. It began as any other Saturday night. I cooked dinner, Chloe had a friend over (at 15, she cannot bear to spend a single weekend without a peer in her face constantly), and Tara was playing loudly and creatively. Tim was on the couch.
As I called everyone to dinner, the lights in the dining room began to dim, and then went out. The house was dark. The street was dark. Hell, the town was dark. Some kind of craptastic thing had happened to an electric plant transformer somewhere.
Suddenly, no one had any sense. Chloe’s visitor starting telling me she was going to cry, that she is scared of the dark. Never mind that I, hippie that I am, possess enough waxy wicks to candlepower a moderately large satanic ritual. She was not in the dark. She was in candlelight. My kids, never ones to be outdone, started telling each other how haunted our old house is, and discussing the difference between spirits and residual hauntings. The friend called her mother; mother came and got her. Chloe flounced back upstairs to stew in her emotastic miasma of a room. Tara crashed on the couch under four or five blankets. Tim was on the couch.
I retreated to the bedroom, caught up on the meditation readings in the books I use, and snuggled deeper under the covers to get started on the new novel I’ve been dying to read, Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese. I didn’t even make it through five pages when the work cell phone rang. It was a staff person at the old job calling to tell me the electricity – and hence the lights and heat – were out at the house she was working. No shit, Sherlock, I resisted the urge to say. However, after listening to her describe how she had called two other members of management who ignored her phone call and told her they were in the same boat respectively, I interrupted her to ask her what she wanted me to do. She had no answer, but continued to bemoan the lack of electricity. I again interrupted, what can I do? She then got haughty, “You don’t have to be an asshole to me.” So I put on my clothes, got in my car and drove through the blackout streets of the Capital City to inform her of the necessity of speaking with supervisors with some modicum of respect. Fake it, for fuck’s sake. As I entered the house where she works, I was struck first by the fact that it is at least 30 degrees warmer than my own house I had just left. Then I was struck by the fact that, although she claimed her cell phones were dead, that she was playing on them, texting and taking calls. Both my clients were in bed, snug as bugs in rugs. And she was sitting on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket with a candle burning. In other words, actually in better shape than I am at my own house. So I explain quite plainly that she is not to call her supervisors assholes at 11:15PM when she calls them at home to whine about unfixable situations, especially situations that aren’t that bad. And then I wait, as she only has 15 minutes left on her shift anyway. The next darling employee comes to work 15 minutes late. Gotta love punctuality, respect and problem-solving skills. While I am there, Tim calls me on the cell phone – no doubt from the couch – saying it is too cold and I need to come home so they can all get in my car and run the heat. So I turn back, get back on the roads, and drive through a darkened town. Four miles from home, my cell phone rings again. This time he tells me the electricity is back on, but the heat is not. Apparently our heat will not come on. I go home to fiddle with the thermostat while he tries to coax a pilot light on. Although we’re not exactly sure it was ever off. However, he has turned it off and on again so much at this point, it appears it will be 45 degrees Fahrenheit in my bed forever.
Maybe I need to go to the couch?