I’m amazed at how readily I glommed onto a lack of power as an excuse for not finishing my chores. At 11:30 p.m. last night, a storm crashed onto our island and the whole of the Delta, with a fierceness that shuddered my house and startled me into uneasy wakefulness. I lay in my tiny loft bedroom listening to the windows rattle and watching the pictures sway. A sudden thud worried me. I imagined my mother’s crystal vase tumbling from its transom perch, shattering on the threshold. My fingers groped for the flashlight on the bedside table; I laughed aloud when I realized that the worrisome noise had been the thwack of a metal cylinder hitting the floor.
With flashlight retrieved, I illuminated that 200 square feet around me. Amazingly, the house withstood the first, vicious onslaught. An hour or so later, I drifted into sleep, soothed by the staccato dance of rain against the solid cedar of my outer walls.
Now I sit in my darkened house, a little propane heater humming at my feet. I will extinguish its flame well before sleeping, but it holds the ambient temperature at 70 for now. I’ve whiled away the day, doing a little work, filming a short piece for my YouTube channel, chatting by message with distant friends. Another storm will blast the island tomorrow while I’m in town. With any luck, power will return before too long, and on Wednesday, my generator should arrive. If good fortune and the irony of fate hold true, once I have that beast installed, we will never see another power outage.
The year has aged by seven days. I am no worse for the turning of each tide. True enough, I cannot take a shower just now, but I can flick a flame, light the stove, and boil water. My fridge holds many offerings to cook in a skillet or saucepan. I have plenty of bottled water and two spare cylinders of propane for the heater. I have not accomplished much today, but for some weird reason, I feel fine. Maybe rainy days agree with me, like the delicious isolation of train rides or idle hours spent among the towering cedars in the mountains north of Santa Cruz during a rolling blackout one balmy September.
On this day, one day in between a Saturday of chores and a Monday of work, I’ve wasted my time alone with little more distraction than the most recent release of a favored crime fiction author. My house became a cave, snug, secure. It occurs to me that no one knows I am here, except perhaps the unknown agent on the other end of the “smart911” for which I felt compelled to register. I can squander my evening as I please. I can do nothing, and I can do it with complete aplomb. What better life than this?
It’s the eighth day of the one-hundred and ninth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.