Waiting for power

I take heart, as I approach my fourth night without power, that the last time it took more than a week after a storm to get the electricity back on the president of the power company ended up without a job.

I have to assume that's an outcome that can't be lost on the new head guy at the power company, as the clock ticks on Sandy power restoration.

Surely the lights will be on before the one-week anniversary of Sandy's landfall.

Still, from what I hear from the powerless, crankiness over the continuing widespread outages is not so gradually turning to outrage.

Someone will eventually have to get thrown under the bus, and state politicians are quickly polishing their pointing fingers, to make sure the power outage buck doesn't stop with them.

I have a friend who ended up as a single parent, watching both kids alone, the night the storm struck and the power went out. When I asked him how it went with the kids, he said at first they were excited, then they were scared and then they were bored, when the computers ran out of power.

Kids know.

For my own part I am trying as best I can to enjoy it.

I figure my electric bill might end up being a quarter less next month. And maybe I will take my time paying it, too.

In a way, going without power is kind of liberating.

No one cares if you show up for a morning appointment unshaven. For that matter, there's a lot of no showing up at all this week.

I am heartened by the generosity of those with power, even those with self-generated power, the new generator class. Many kind offers of a shower or even a hot meal have come my way this week.

Even Senate candidate Linda McMahon offered voters the use of power at campaign offices around the state, although none are around here. She didn't say anything about opening up the showers at her Greenwich manse.

In any event, I'm sure the naysayers will suggest her obvious and selfless generosity is just another attempt to buy a Senate seat.

I have learned some new life truths. For instance, I now know it's better to use the downstairs toilet than one upstairs, if you have to carry a bucket inside to flush it.

And don't all the health experts say a variation from routines is good for your mental health, like driving to work a different way each day. Surely, scouting out your morning coffee works the same way.

I see now why running water is considered a mark of civilization.

There is also an interesting new culture of the haves and have nots developing around here. Small talk is changing. "Is yours on yet?" has replaced the weather as a conversation filler.

I wonder, too, if it might ever begin to seem normal living in a world split between power and no power. I can work a kind of normal day at the office, with power, and then go home to none.

On the way home the other night from the movie theater, which has proven a valuable refuge, I was struck by how many homes and businesses I drove by that were lit up, before I passed through the magic line to darkness, from the real to the unreal. Or is it the new reality?

Tick tock. Tick tock.

Those of us still without power might take some heart knowing that most likely someone will be made to pay.

Surely that one-week anniversary won't come and go without the lights going back on.


This is the opinion of David Collins


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