Sunday, September 21, 2008

We're back!!

I have no idea if this made the national news or not, but the Midwest actually got a hard hit from the tail end of hurricane Ike. Brax and I have been without power since Sunday. We got a windstorm like you wouldn’t believe. It only rained for a minute, that’s the kicker. It rained for, like, a nanosecond, and it winded for about 8 years. We had 80 MPH winds here in Ohio. I know that some of you live in places where real hurricanes happen, and that doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, but to us it was like Armageddon. The big giant tree in my back yard got pulled up by the roots and landed balanced perilously on my house and my neighbors’ house. Trees were down all over the city! Many roads were impassable, all the stoplights were out. We finally got our power back at around 2 this morning. Plenty of people are still in the dark, though.

Fortunately for us, Topher and the Science Pirate, who live right up the street, got power back that first night, so we were able to keep our food there, and charge our phones, and I was able to go over there to blow dry my hair, which, I am not even kidding, was the main reason I missed electricity. (I have heard people say “Libby’s hair is so smooth and sleek.” No, it is not! Libby’s hair is psychotic and wavy and frizzy and puffy if she doesn’t blow dry it. And it’s too short to put in a ponytail. I am utterly dependent on the blow dryer. Don’t tell, like, Barbara Kingsolver and Gloria Steinem, I’m sure they’d be disappointed in me. I am reminded of the time on Oprah where Oprah had the audience answer the question “what modern invention can’t you live without?” and the number one answer was “hairspray.” I thought those women were really stupid and shallow at the time.)

Yes, by the end I had decided that I was fine without power EXCEPT for the fridge, the hair dryer, and a single lamp. (We have a gas stove, fortunately.) If I could have those things, I’d be OK. I didn’t actually miss TV at all, and I felt sort of liberated by being barred from the internet. At night, I put about 10 tea lights in a clear glass pie pan with a little bit of water in the bottom, and that was plenty of light to read by. I picked up my lonesome, dusty, too-good-for-me guitar for the first time in about 4 months (PS my fingers hurt). We played board games. I talked to my neighbors more than usual. Brax and the boys and I rode our bikes all over town. I had an excellent excuse to eat in restaurants twice a day. I got a day off work and a free bottle of wine for coming in when the power was out only to be sent home. I knitted on a blanket. I wrote. It was cool. (That’s not to say I wasn’t relieved when the power came back on. We weren’t equipped. We were running out of candles.)

My parents, on the other hand, had NO RUNNING WATER. Because they have well water, and the water gets from the well to their house via an electric pump. They had to rent a room at the Motel and shower there every day. Also all the crazy-militia-prepare-for-the-apocalypse folks in my hometown went batshit when the windstorm came, and they all bought all the gas and all the ice and all the milk and bread and batteries and flashlights and probably bullets too. So you couldn’t get any of those things in my hometown for days. Like, my mom needed to go to the airport and she said to me “I have no idea where I’m going to get the gas.” Seriously. I think this is very funny. What did they think was going to happen? They raided the I.G.A. and then they went home and hunkered down for a siege. Sometimes I miss that crazy place.

A lot of people out in the ‘burbs were, according to the newspaper, VERY ANGRY about how long it was taking to get their power back. That sort of got my goat. The newspaper quoted a lady from Hilliard saying that she was so angry that she was going to deduct the cost of the meat in her freezer from her electric bill. I was like, oh, you’re entitled to electricity, princess? You’re lucky to have meat to lose! You’re lucky to have a freaking freezer! For one thing, how about instead of getting pissed about it, you be grateful that you don’t live in Galveston and therefore your house didn’t just get leveled and you didn’t lose any loved ones. For another, I am sure it really sucks to have to talk to your family. For a third, shit happens. If this is the worst thing that ever happens to you, you will be lucky indeed. For a fourth, the electric company is working really hard and doing their best, and we just don’t have the infrastructure to deal with 80 MPH winds. And finally, for the fifth thing, many people would be ASTONISHED by your freezer full of meat, because they only get to eat meat on special occasions and they don’t have household freezers, and meat doesn’t come from a grocery store, it comes from a goat that they have raised from a kid and when they kill it that’s all they get til they get another goat, so what I’m saying is, you are so completely unaware of your privilege that I’d like to meet you in person so I could smack you.

I think sometimes you can tell when people have never lived anywhere different or met anyone from a different culture or maybe even never watched PBS. Anyway, the moral of the story is, when something that happens in other places all the time happens in a place where it has never happened before, everyone flips their lid, and I ride around on my high horse laughing at them.

Anyway, we're back.

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