Thursday, September 10, 2009

Panic Switch

For three days the lights haven't worked in either bathroom or our bedroom. I have been waking up completely disoriented, like touring days of old, in unfamiliar hotel rooms. Ms. Wrecking Ball wakes me. She has taken a cord to the neighbors, for the two refrigerators. I am am the ugly American. I have two refrigerators. My biggest problem is an over abundance of food, I am now protecting like a penguin, on an egg, in winter. The city crews are here. As I open the windows, I see a guy shaking his head and another going for a shovel.

The electricians have the fuse panel torn apart, and wires reach out like hungry children. They have been in the same position for thirty six years bringing power to this house. Now they are a chaotic tangle separated and useless, because a couple lights flickered and went out. I am starting to sweat, it is subtle, not the hard working sweat of productive effort, but the slow immobile accumulation of moisture. Sticky at first, then a stale wetness. I look out the window and remember Mrs. Hillier rapping me on the hand with a ruler for putting my sweaty arm on my paper. White City Elementary had no A/C but they made fresh rolls every day. There is a second electrical contractor truck dripping in oil in my drive and a third city truck rolls up. They are all jovial and discuss the deals they got on Beretta rifles and where they are going for lunch. I am a babe in the woods, they could walk up and say I had unicorns in my lines and I would be powerless to disagree, they hold the switch, and I can't wait to get the gadgets back. I sit like a chick in the nest waiting for them to throw up in my mouth. I hear my voice, as a child, scream in my skull: "Please, I beg you, make the monkey clap the cymbals again."

My mind drifts, I am tired. I haven't slept well for days. When did I become a coddled, power sucking, misfit? How did I get here? I used to go to the beach for hours with no water, money or food, just baggies, wax and a towel. I hitch hiked to the beach, 18 miles each way, when I was thirteen. I skated for hours on one frozen mini pizza and two Pepsi's. I used to play six, forty five minute sets, with ten minute breaks, after loading in stacks of speakers and rigging lights. Now I am in a panic, because I am sweating and I can't access the Internet. I have an irrational image of shows evaporating off my DVR. How did I end up such a pampered shadow of the "tough it out" kid I once was?

The hours erode away, each explanation is more absurd than the one before. There is a hole with five guys sitting in it. A new crew arrives. They all agree that a herd of cats inserted a computer virus into government files that disintegrated the insulation on my main line, which any idiot can see is not reading right on the meter, the guy mumbling pigeon red neck is holding. I am such a dumb ass. Everyone leaves. A new inspector comes and tells me he can hook up the power but the line will definitely fail, and soon. The new fuse box is in ($1500.00) and it looks really cool. I walk in and see green and red L.E.D.'s blinking all around. Nothing, including me, knows what time it is. I go to the bedroom, flip the light switch, and nothing happens.