Powerlessness

The Felled Tree

The photo you see here—and is linked to three others—is one of the trees that got blown over by the hurricane force winds that roared through Columbus Sunday evening. I found it when I came home from work. All the lights were out. With no hope of my usual Internet session before going to bed, I cooked and consumed the entire bag of the chicken nuggets that I had purchased at Dollar Tree (thank God for a gas range) and then went straight to bed.

Stillness

As I lay there in the darkness, with nothing but the moonlight streaming in through the window, I noticed that with the lack of electric power comes . . . silence!

It is an uncanny kind of silence to hear in northern Columbus. There are no loud voices from braggarts, no reports from handguns. I have not heard this kind of silence since my boyhood days on a park-like farm some 4½ miles southeast of Carrollton, Ohio, and even that stillness was broken by the song of crickets, frogs, and whippoorwills.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

Watching the neighborhood

I woke to the roar of chain saws. The Latino groundskeepers were already cutting up the fallen tree at the corner and clearing it away. The tree standing just outside the patio is already halfway denuded. There is still no power. I took the coffee from the coffee maker and poured it into a saucepan and put it on the gas range to heat up. Thank God for gas ranges.

It really sucks to be sitting smack in the middle of the big story of the day and not be able to read about it until it’s yesterday’s news. But the hardy and foolhardy Armenian souls who run the Easy Mart down the street tried to run their store during the power outage, with no working cash register. A risky move on their part, but God bless ’em. I bought a copy of the Columbus Dispatch and took it home to read.

I would reckon I’m the hardest hit, dependent as I am on the Internet and other sources of outside information. I’ve been attempting to amuse myself by sitting on the front steps of the 1682 building and watching the groundskeepers clean the felled trees and the other residents venture out of their apartments.

It’s really interesting to watch how the neighbors cope with the power outage.

As the day wears on and the cell phone batteries get depleted, I start to see some youths across the street gather below one of the remaining trees and shoot the bull. They use language laced with profane “bark talk”. I call it that because the bleep words are so numerous that they lack meaning and can be equated to the noise dogs make to display their toughness and make other dogs back off. They seem to be at a loss for words that really communicate ideas.

Getting fooled

My original plan after nearly overdrawing my bank account last Thursday was to keep my last $14 for food, buying sparingly over the next week or so, and work from home. Low Pressure Ike changed the rules of that game really quick. No electricity allowed. No Internet allowed. I’m required to make a minimum of four round trips to the call center before next payday.

I resigned myself to those unfair new rules and took Oooh Shinee to the Shell Station for $10 worth of regular. I was sitting on the front patio, sulking in misery when I looked up to my right and found that the patio lights had come on. Joy unspeakable and full of glory! At 11:17 AM this morning.

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4 thoughts on “Powerlessness

  1. I had briefly heard about how Ohio had been slammed by the remains of Ike before I went off to work this morning, so I was hoping you didn’t suffer much. Glad you’re all in one piece.

    You’ve got the ‘Net addiction, as well? I feel for you. Last week, I suddenly lost power in the middle of the day. After I called So Cal Edison to report the outage, I laid down on my bed…and I already started to miss my ‘Net connection. In the end, it was only out for about 30 minutes or so, but…even though I picked up tobacco again, I don’t jones for it nowhere near as much as the ‘Net.

    And sorry to hear about your financial woes…got room in that boat? I was hoping to save about $1500 from my game show winnings to pay next year’s taxes; I’m now down to a mere $800 total. My car registration’s due–including a smog check–I still have one more credit card to pay down, and don’t get me started work…just…don’t…

    But hey, at least we have our health right? Cheers to that.

    P.S. I don’t know what it is about censor bleeps, but those thinks just crack me up!!!

  2. You were in a game show?! Late last year a costume performer who went by the nom de pelage SK-1 appeared in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and did quite well there, winning $25,000. Pray tell what game show were you on?

  3. I was on an episode of “Wheel of Fortune” that aired April 9th of this year. While I thoroughly bested my other two competitors, I suffered an epic failur in the bonus round. Still, I came out with $24,870 in cash and prizes to my name.

    Little known fact: I carried a picture of Phoenix Audubon in my coat pocket…I’d like to think it brought me some measure of good luck. 🙂

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