Isolated in the Dark

When I was a kid I would love it when the candles were lit during a power outage—wrapping up in a blanket, thinking I would stay up as late as could be even though the sun went down between 4:30 and 5:00 PM and night came upon us before the evening news would have. In a pinch we would boil some milk on the grill to make hot chocolate. As an adult I think more about stand-by generators and the hum heard round the neighborhood when the lights go out. Sitting around the table as the last rays of sun for the day streamed in over our hard-to-find-in-a-quarantine-when-the-few-restaurants-that-may-be-open-on-Main-Street-no-longer-have-power-dinner we called to track down the generator we were hoping to borrow in order to save our isolation stock pile from the 24 hour outage time Central Hudson predicted before we would be up and running. I gave strict orders not to even look at the fridge let alone think about opening it. We couldn’t spare one moment of chilly air. One third of the way through our wait time the hum of our boiler was the greatest background noise I had ever heard. No one in the room realized what it meant as not a single light or electronic device was nearby to register the restored surge. I questioned embracing the silence and added isolation just a little longer, but the grin on my face gave away the meaning of the noise below. Shortly after everyone settled in for the night I heard someone say, “I kind of wish it would have lasted a little longer.” My childhood flashed before me. Maybe the next time a tree falls on the line I too will have a stand-by generator to keep the fridge and freezer going, but I’ll take a vote on whether everyone in the house wants lights or no lights while the rest of the neighborhood is dark.—Dominick

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