It seemed like it was going to be a nice, relaxing Sunday. Karl and I had dinner with friends on Saturday night, and the contentious, vitriolic Dallas municipal election was over. Sunday was an at home time to be capped off with the Tony awards. And then it hit.
Suddenly, the clouds opened delivering sheets of rain with straight-line winds blowing the rain into our covered patio. I ran inside taking my calendar, address book and cell phone to get them out of harm’s way (in my case, those are three different things) while the gusting winds blew my kaftan up around my waist. The last time I experienced anything like that was in 1976 when I was in New Orleans and nearly got blown into Lake Pontchartrain during what the local weather later reported as “afternoon showers.”
Living in an older neighborhood, our electricity goes out when a squirrel jumps onto a power line, so it was no surprise that everything came to a grinding halt. The storm only lasted no more than 20 minutes at our house, and then we were back to a beautiful late spring day.
Checking into Facebook, it quickly became clear that Dallas hadn’t experienced just a routine cloud burst. My favorite post that afternoon (“Marked safe from whatever the hell that was”) was layered between some political gibes about the storm being Mother Nature’s commentary on Dallas election results and the pictures of the actual damage to houses and trees blown down and blocking streets.
With little to do, I decided to take a cool shower and put on a fresh kaftan, hoping that everything would be back to normal by the time the Tonys would be broadcast. But that was not to be.
Feeling refreshed, I discovered that we had lost coverage and internet connectivity on my cell phone. How could that be? Well, of course, Karl the Telecom Engineer (that’s not facetious, he really is one) gave me a technical explanation which caused my eyes to glaze over.
Karl’s pragmatic side took over at about this point, and he decided to play hunter-gatherer and go out into the world and bring back food. Food is a necessity and getting out of the house most desirable. I wanted Whataburger (of course) and can only imagine how difficult it must have been for Karl to find that it was closed. So he did the next best thing and came home with apologies and Popeye’s.
And that was Sunday.
By the time Karl got home from the office on Monday afternoon, we knew about the crane collapse during the storm that cost one person her life and left hundreds without homes. In the face of this story, my “problem” was downgraded to inconvenience. When he came home with In-N-Out, it was fine by me.
By Tuesday, we somehow had cell coverage restored, so we were able to get the vague updates from Oncor, the service provider, about projections of when power would be restored. Maybe Wednesday, maybe Thursday, could be Saturday. Sometimes it was “we are assessing the damage in your area.” Whatever. We’ll manage.
We had all gone to bed that night when, quite unexpectedly, the air conditioner fired up, the lights came on and the power was back. Other than 54 hours of not much to do but eat, sleep and read, the event had cost us virtually nothing.
I hesitated to write about this subject, not wishing to seem flippant about an event that caused loss of life, loss of homes and, for many individuals, a loss of wages. Having been off the grid and missing a couple of news cycles, I thought surely the Washington circus would have something for me. Instead, I only found that sorry storyline (or “narrative” as the commentators call it) is moving at the pace of a bad daytime soap opera from the 1970’s.
Is there something between “plugged in” and “tuned out”? Maybe. Being offline was kind of nice. I may do it again voluntarily. But next time with air conditioning. And Whataburger.