Fright Note:
Gasp
14 June 2018

Early this afternoon, the power went out for a little while. Hours later, I still haven’t recovered.

It ought not to have been a surprise. I was told that Kathleen had been notified, via voicemail, by someone from the building’s management. Perhaps. I wasn’t going to waste any time staring into that particular black hole. Nor did I stick around to find out why the power was out. Renovations in one of the apartments on this line, presumably; although in all my years here a deliberate power outage has never occurred before. It was enough to know that the electricity would be turned on in half and hour to forty-five minutes. As it was. (Forty-five minutes.)

I had just sat down to read the Times. The lamp went out and the HVAC went silent. I saw that my bedside clock was dark. (When the power was restored, it told the correct time right away. It’s a miracle clock, to my ancient mind, capable of registering the two annual time changes automatically.) I called Kathleen. She had power (as did the cellphone network.) I opened the front door. The corridor was lighted as usual. As a neighbor down the hall let herself into her apartment, I asked if she had electricity, and she said yes. Then I went down to the management office — I did think twice about getting on the elevator — where I found out all I wanted to know. 

But I was very upset, viscerally anxious., and I ended up good for nothing for the rest of the day.

There’s a cartoon in this week’s New Yorker. The man at the head of a sort of chain gang turns to the woman bound behind him, as colossal robots wield whips and wreak urban devastation, and says, “Remember the other day, when this was considered unacceptable?” It wasn’t funny at all — not today.

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