I’m writing this in a dark room, in candlelight. That’s the old joke, isn’t it? “Well, if the power went out, we’d have to watch TV in candlelight.”
Not that funny anymore.
The power went out this morning, mid-breakfast. And by “mid-breakfast” I mean that half of the family had had their breakfast, and my half not as much. Suddenly, the lights went out in the kitchen, the tea kettle stopped is whistling, the clock on the microwave went back to blinking zeroes, and the toast was prematurely ejected from the toaster.
What’s Man to do? Well, a Man would get his toolbox – if his tools weren’t already hanging from his belt –, spit in his hands, and get inside the cupboard where the fuses are.
As did this man. I also grabbed a new fuse from the other cupboard in the hall, and climbed on the little stool I’ve had since I was three ears old to get that important 30-centimeter boost I needed.
“It’s Number Nine, right?” I yelled from inside the cabinet.
I unscrewed the fuse, whistled a couple of bars of Huey Lewis and News’s “Workin’ For A Livin’”, checked the end of the fuse to see it had truly blown, tossed it in the air and put in my pocket, tossed the new one in the air, caught it and screwed it in its place. Number 9.
I’ve already stepped down from the stool when I realzed I didn’t hear the tea kettle turn on again. Also, kitchen is still dark.
“Ah, it must the the other fusebox. Outside,” I said.
I put on a New York Rangers toque, a New York Rangers leather jacket, and the rubber boots I’ve had since I was in my early teens, the legs on the boots folded to resemble – in a teenage boy’s mind – pirate’s boots, and then I walked into the bush outside the house and battled my way to the other fusebox, with a pair of pliers in my hand. The first snow on the ground reminded me of another time I had worn rubber boots just when we had got our first snow seventeen years ago, almost to the day, on the day Son was born.
I stuck the pliers into the lock, and twisted it. Nothing. I pushed it in harder, and pulled hard and the door cracked open a little bit, but not enough to open.
“Damn, the upper lock is lost.”
Wife opened the door.
“Need a hand?” she asked the Man.
“No, no, it’s just that … damn!”
“I dropped the pliers, and … it’s so dark I can’t even see them now.”
“Want me to get my phone? Shine some light?”
“No, no … ok, fine.”
I stared at the wall for a few seconds, totally zen. Then Wife opened the door again, and shone the light on the ground. The pliers were sticking from the ground next to my foot. I picked them up and shoved them into the lower lock again, and pulled. Again, it seemed to open a little but. The problem – I deducted – was the other lock.
To be honest, I thought it looked like somebody had painted it over and for a few seconds I wondered if that wasn’t the problem. I would have been able to open the lock and open the door if not for the fool who had painted it shut … but I didn’t say anything because years and years ago I made the mistake of telling my Dad that since I hadn’t been able to loosen the bolts on my winter tires, the tires may have frozen to the ground.
That I had an idiotic theory on something practical didn’t surprise him because, after all, I had started to make a hammer in eighth grade shop class, and Dad finished it 15 years later.
“No, I can’t open it. We don’t have the right too. See? “
I went back inside and wondered how I’d be able to make my morning cappuccino. Wife went through electricians’ numbers on her phone. She called one, he would be able to come at around noon. She texted another one, he didn’t reply immediately.
I got an idea.
I could carry the espresso machine to my little office, we still had electricity up there!
Wife picked up the phone again and called the local electricity company. She spoke with them a couple of minutes. I realized that I could just move the espresso machine to the front door, and power it from the outlet there.
“They’ll send someone here shortly,” Wife said.
“Excellent! Hey, I just realized I can use my coffee machine here.”
“Excellent,” she said.
Twenty minutes later, while I was upstairs in my office, sipping a cup of cappuccino in the dark (because I didn’t want to waste thee little electricity we had) a car with the electricity provider’s log on it stopped at our house and two men in very hiviz clothes stepped out. They walked to the fusebox, opened it, and I heard Wife go outside and change the fuse in the box.
I heard the fridge turn on. I think I even heard the lights go on.
I skipped downstairs and high-fived Wife.
“You know, you’re a real fixer. You fix things!”
“I know,” she said, “Where would you be without me?”
We all know the answer.
I’d be in the dark.