I came home from work Friday to discover that the power was out. Of course, it took me an embarrassingly long time to come to that conclusion, given that the power was only out in half of our house. Three rooms without power normally leads one to believe that a breaker has gone out, resulting in that person flipping on and off all of the breakers in her poorly labeled, very-hard-to-get-to breaker box. Because things like labeling the breaker box or say, not putting a queen bed in front of it never seem that important until you blow a fuse.

Twenty breakers and five phone calls later, I was convinced that we didn’t just blow a fuse, but had a serious electrical problem. It never occurred to me that power could go out to only half our house. Doesn’t that defy the laws of electricity, or at least logic? A quick trip to my neighbors’ house told me that it does not. The neighbors and their three kids were huddled under blankets as they, too, had lost power to only half of their house—but the important half, the one that controls things like heat and internet and cable television. How quickly you miss those things when your house is hovering at 40 degrees and you’re thumbing through old copies of InStyle magazine, wishing you had followed through on your thought of grabbing a few books from the library earlier in the week. An article on best beauty buys can only last you so long.

After a few teasing flickers of power and several trips to Starbucks for free internet, by Sunday the power was back on for good and we were none the worse for wear. While 36 hours without power may not sound like much, it certainly taught me a few things, and not just which night cream is the best for keeping wrinkles at bay.  I learned, for one, that schoolwork goes much quicker without the distraction of the internet or television, and that while 40 degrees is far too cold for the waking hours, at night it makes you sleep like a baby. I also learned that without all of that electronic noise and clutter, you can have some pretty wonderful conversations with your husband and some nice long chats with your family. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy as a clam to have the thermostat back on 68. But a little self-imposed power outage every few weeks might not be a bad thing for my mind or my relationships.

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