Few things result in the instant and continuing periodic profanity in an otherwise family household more than a power outage. There is the initial expletive offered in response to the surprise of finding yourself completing whatever task you were in the middle of in darkness. Then, comes the expletive offered upon the realization that you can no longer do the next three simple tasks you attempt with the lights out. Every normal task requires three extra steps and answering four extra questions.
As if they may somehow act as sonar the sudden exclamations of profanity continue. The evening wears on and the G rating slide right past PG to PG-13, and that might not last much longer. There’s the soft muttering with every light switch you flip as you enter each dark room, every random object you kick across the floor, and the string of confused jumbled swear words as you step on your now invisible 100 pound dog while simultaneously falling down and shutting the door on your foot. Then there’s the Homer Simpson like shouts every time the power company moves the expected restoration time back future until it slips completely back to “evaluating.”
Without children, this is generally a mild inconvenience, but like anything else, children add to the fun. If you’re unfortunate the power will go out right before dinner forcing you to come up with exciting cold dishes to feed a toddler and picky 7-year-old in the dark. You might even get to change a poop diaper while trying to hold iPhone flashlight under your chin. Maybe if you’ve been living right it will hit just in time for bath time, or maybe right at bedtime.
You would think that bedtime would be pretty power outage friendly, just read a few books by flashlight and done. But no. Without electricity the night-lights, sound machines, fans, and other devices used to force sleep upon your children are useless. The darkness has brought out new stalling tactics. One child insists on getting out of bed constantly to questions about when the power will come back on, and keeps finding other random reasons to stumble around in the dark. Lord help you if he decides he needs to poop.
Every flashlight except the one that is as bright as the sun has hidden itself away and you’re too scared to open the fridge for a snack, or a cold beer, for fear of letting the cold air out. The power only goes out after you’ve been grocery shopping. Looks like it’s whiskey or wine. Everything is now quiet and fortunately your iPad is fully charged so there’s still mindless YouTube videos to watch. You settle into your chair and it feels like the urgency has passed and this is the new normal for a bit. It’s almost like camping except it’s Tuesday night, you have to work tomorrow, you’re inside, and there’s no fire.
It’s pretty peaceful just listening to the rain with the lights out and you’ve survived. Suddenly, the same way you were plunged into darkness, you’re pulled shockingly into the light. You’re now blind like a mole that’s dug too far up. Things you didn’t know made noise start beeping as if in a delayed attempt to cover your quiet oaths. You walk through the house turning various things off and amid the light a voice from upstairs tells you the power is back on. “Lights Out! Go! To! Bed!” you say for the hundredth time and you do the same, wondering why it is you stayed up late just to wait for the lights to come back on.