I was in the middle of whipping up a batch of homemade rhubarb jam late last night when a giant clash of lightening exploded outside the window and the entire house went black. I waited a beat for the lights to crackle back to life but nothing. The power was out.
Ordinarily, an event like this would make my pulse quicken – the freezer will defrost! the milk in the refrigerator will go bad! where are all the flashlights? aaaaah! life sucks and then you die! — but Jake was there and I knew everything would be okay.
I suppose that sounds terribly regressive. But for a man who has spent a year and a half in Iraq and another year in Afghanistan, a power outage in Virginia is like a picnic in the park. A non event. A mosquito bite. A big whatever. I am thankful for that calm composure because it keeps me — someone a bit prone to the fits — relaxed.
“What about the freezer?” I asked.
“Don’t open it,” he offered.
Jake unearthed some flashlights and head lamps. (Jake was an Eagle Scouts. Eagle Scouts don’t exist without flashlights and head lamps.) We pulled out our candles, procured for just such an occasion. I called the power company to report the outage. Then we sat at the dining room table, faces lit up by candlelight,and talked like two civilized human beings.
To think it took a power outage to bring a moment of clarity to my day.