Sunday, September 21, 2003

During the blackout, I kept a running journal of my Brush with Sort of Peril, Kind of. Here, now, is an unexpurgated account of the Greatest Struggle Mankind Has Ever Known. Children, those with heart conditions and the otherwise weak and infirm should not read this entry, lest the horror and danger cause permanent and irrepairable harm.

9/18, 4:45 pm
Electricity goes out for the first time. I am prepared - flashlight, spare batteries and whatnot. Hey, this'll be just like camping, except for all of that "fresh air" and "communing with nature" shit I studiously try to avoid.

9/18, 5:27 pm
Already, I am plagued by massive waves of boredom and ennui. I now realize exactly why so many Amish youths turn to crime.

9/18, 6:18 pm
Play my unplugged electric guitar. Manage to work out a passable version of Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" from memory. This is the most notable guitar-related accomplishment I've had in three years.

9/18, 7:13 pm
Darkness sets in. The storm is gaining in intensity, although it doesn't really seem all that severe. Realize that I only have enough food for another day or two, because everything in the freezer or refrigerator has already gone bad. Start to wonder if I could eat one of my own toes. Finally admit to self that you shouldn't resort to cannibalism for at least a week.

9/18, 7:38 pm
Without the constant barrage of music and ambient TV white noise that usually fills my apartment, listening to my own thoughts becomes unavoidable. I've already had several really stupid internal arguments, and I finally realize why solitary confinement is considered such a punishment. On the other hand, I finally decide that Double Indemnity really was the best film noir of all time, even better than The Postman Always Rings Twice, although Lana Turner was the sine qua non ne plus ultra casus belli femme fatale of mid-40s cinema.

9/18, 8:46 pm
I long for some form of televised entertainment. I don't even watch much TV, but I'm jonesing right now. A rerun of "One Day at a Time." Televised soccer. A paid political advertisement for a juice maker. Anything.

9/18, 10:01 pm
For the eighth time, I have the unfulfilled urge to Google something.

9/18, 10:36 pm
Some mind altering drugs would really hit the spot right now.

9/18, 11:13 pm
Fall asleep earlier than I have in two years. Realize that electricity is partly to blame for my chronic insomnia.

9/19, 7:56 am
Wake up to call the office and see if power has been restored there. Yes, it has - the only building in the entire metropolitan area, miraculously. Of all the bitter ironies I've had to swallow in a lifetime, this one...well, it's not the worst, but it's in the top 10. Take the world's coldest shower ever and go to work.

9/19, 1:36 pm
Return home from work (only a half day) to find the power is still off. Try to think of fun things that people did before the advent of electricity, but no one else in the apartment building seems to be interested in hootenannies, ether frolics or making corn liquor.

9/19, 2:13 pm
I organize and clean my desk. I have obviously hit rock bottom.

9/19, 2:59 pm
For the fifth time since the blackout began, I turn the lights on when entering a room.

9/19, 3:51 pm
Call Pepco for ninth time today, but no estimates on restoration were given beyond "three days to a week." I've already had a long hallucination involving myself as a lieutenant during the Civil War, so I doubt I'll maintain my sanity if it takes a week for power to return. And I'm not sure what I'll do with these letters I wrote to "my dearest Eulabelle."

9/19, 5:26 pm
Concede defeat and leave to go back to my parents' house to do laundry.

I guess we all learn something about ourselves when we face adversity, and I learned that in times of crisis, I'm an incredibly self-absorbed, spoiled, narcissistic whiner. I kind of figured that, but it was good to have it finally proven once and for all.

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