Power Out

One would think I'd grown tired of talking about power outages. I'm relatively lucky, considering I only lose power about once a month during the winter. I'm not altogether unprepared, either. I have stockpiles of candles and matches, a host of battery powered electronics, and shelves of books.

It's not a problem of heat, either. I'm accustomed to 50 degrees inside - just wear warm clothes.

Part of the issue is that it remains unexpected. From a certain perspective it's a gift. I have to be more creative when planning out my day. In the morning I can only wash my face and feet - the water's too cold for a complete shower. The water for my coffee is heated in a stir-fry pan over my gas heater. I can even blast music in my apartment with my iPod's accompanying speakers (5-hour battery life!).

This last outage was only 24 hours. I can't explain the strange feeling when walking back to my apartment building, looking up to my 5th floor window, and seeing the lights on inside.

The moment the power goes out I emit a flicker of panic. Immediately I categorize the location of candles, matches, a thick winter coat and the Nepalese "Everest" hat to keep my head warm. These are easy to find - and when I settle down to study Chinese the panic subsides. Especially when I realize that I'm perfectly warm and comfortable studying by candlelight.

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