... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

The last few magnets are from the fridge of our friend Sian, in Orkney

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WHAT I'M READING...

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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

by
Paul Monette

My Amazon wish list


WHAT I'M WATCHING...

Nothing--this is radio night



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That's it for today!

 

THE SOUND OF SILENCE

25 November 2001

It had been such a good plan. Coming home a day early, no distractions, get the transcription finished, not have it hanging over my head for the 2 weeks that the psychiatrist is gone to tour hospitals in Mexico.

It all flew out the window when the power went off. It was about 7:45 a.m. when everything sputtered a couple of times, and then died. Now what? I wondered.

As you all know, I managed to satisfy my computer addiction. It involved moving a heavy table over to my office door so the modem cord would reach (because the connecting thingy that you can use to join two telephone cords together was down at the office, and I was here without a car). And that worked fine. My ISP was out, but CompuServe is my backup and thanks to CompuServe, I was able to get onto the net, find Steve on IM, chat, write that wimpy journal entry (which even involved rotating and sizing a photo).

But eventually, I had to face the fact that the power was. not. coming. back. on.

What to do?

I remembered back in the days when I was birthin' babies. It was the old days, before "birthing centers" and "birthing beds" and when midwives were out of favor and doctors and medications were in favor. When I got laughed at for wanting a natural childbirth.

Birthing under those conditions involved moving you from your labor bed, usually in the middle of a contraction, and putting you on a hard, flat gurney to wheel you into the sterile delivery room. Your hands and feet were strapped down--I guess so you didn't sock the nurse or kick the doctor.

But every single time, for every single delivery, as soon as they strapped my hands down, my nose began to itch. I was successful giving birth naturally five times and the only real work the nurse ever had to do for me was scratch my nose.

So when the power went off, all I could think of were things that I wanted to do that involved electricity--make coffee, vacuum, run a load of wash, fill the dishwasher and run it. (Now in all honesty, if the power hadn't gone off, I probably wouldn't have done any of these things, but they suddenly gained Very Important status because I couldn't do them).

Suddenly there were all sorts of CDs I wanted to listen to. I wanted to turn on the news to find out about weather conditions over the pass, knowing that the family would be driving back today. Couldn't do that either.

Initially it was too dark to read (hence the battery-operated computer). But when I finally realized that the batteries weren't going to last forever, it was just me and the big empty house and no electricity.

I took a shower. No electricity needed for that.

And then I decided I might as well sit down and read. I moved over to the window, to get maximum light, and began making a major dent in my book. The house was deathly still.

As I sat there, in the totally still house, I heard the far-off sounds of sirens. Perhaps rushing someone to the hospital, or maybe it was a firetruck and there was a fire nearby (though in the downpour, not likely). I heard the wind rustling through the trees and the soft sounds of our bamboo windchime.

And I heard....nothing. Nothing to assault the ears. No commercials for snack foods or feminine hygiene products. No chime letting me know I had incoming mail. No white noise of machines running in the background.

The longer I sat there, the more involved I got in my book, and the more I appreciated the silence. I stopped being nervous wondering when the power would return. I just sat there and let my ears rest.

The power was out for four hours and when it finally sputtered back to life, the house came to life with it. The telephone answering machine reset itself, the water softener began to recharge, the TV came on, the printer did whatever it does when it first starts up.

My period of silence was over and life was ready to get back to normal again.

As I write this, I hear the sound of the keys clicking as I type, the announcement of an incoming e-mail, a telephone call from Walt telling me that in the last 6 hours they've managed to travel halfway here and not to wait dinner for him, and in the background, Garrison Keillor is telling a story. The audience is laughing.

Life, with all its cacophony, has returned.

I'm kind of sorry.


One Year Ago:
From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

(Club Photo has started deleting
photo albums after 90 days,
so the photos which were once there,
have been removed now)


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Created 11/19/01 by Bev Sykes