One of my favorite things about working in a small community is this:
On days when we do not have work, so far because of power outages due to storms that roar through our coastal community, I don’t turn to the radio, internet, or broadcast text automatically sent to my phone by the powers that be (which is a good thing, because of the aforementioned power outages). Instead, I wait patiently for the calls and texts from colleagues, letting me know that we’ll be home for the day.
It becomes a uniquely personal, and sweetly precious, thing. The first time it happened, I received calls from several people right around 6:00 a.m., making sure I’d heard the news. Each call expanded into a friendly exchange that allowed us to check in, catch up, and laugh a bit about the suddenly free day ahead. All at 6:00 a.m.
Tonight, I’m writing by candlelight, on battery power, unsure when I’ll post this because – going into the second consecutive night without electricity – I’m not sure when I’ll be able to go online again. The texts and calls came early this morning; we were closed today, and I just found out we’ll be closed again tomorrow. One coworker reported that he is at home attempting to watch Pitch Perfect with his daughters before the laptop gives out; another said she’s doing well and asked me to get in touch with someone else who she couldn’t successfully contact; another is so bored that she’s about to go to sleep, even though it’s barely 8:00.
For me, I am not yet really tired, though it’s been a strange few days. I had my first (and, god-willing, my last) horrible experience with food poisoning. Still nauseous and unsteady, I have felt pretty wrecked by it the last couple of days. It helped me remember how grateful I am for good health, which I usually enjoy without pause. It made me grateful, too, for the people – here and far away – who stepped in to help when I was at perhaps my most pitiful.
Word on the street – literally, this is what people were talking about on the street today – is that the power line is damaged in a spot where workers have to either helicopter or hike in to reach. Thank goodness I don’t live in a Massachusetts or a New Hampshire or a Minnesota, where going without power in February is a serious threat to life; here, it will only get to the mid-40s tonight.
I am really, really lucky, in so many ways.
So I sit tonight by candlelight, cautiously texting so as to save the charge on my phone for as long as I can, listening to pedestrians and cars pass by my house in the darkness of absent streetlights. I own one movie, which a girlfriend gave to me when I moved here, and so perhaps I’ll watch that on my laptop, just as my friend is watching Pitch Perfect on his, a couple of miles away.
I’m safe, warm, and very much aware that I’m not alone – even though I’m the only one here. Wherever you are, I hope you’re feeling the same.
(p.s. – Tuesday afternoon and the power is back on! Woot!)