I’m unexpectedly rested when I awaken. I’d anticipated lawn care waking me up, but they evidently didn’t come today—at least not yet. Maybe they’re running late, or maybe the weather’s no good for them. While I’m glad for the sleep, this only means they’ll come later. Hopefully I’ll be at work by then.
My alarm hasn’t gone off yet either. Maybe I’ll be able to sleep longer. Grabbing my phone, I flip it open to check the time. It’s dead, though, and I chastise myself for forgetting to plug it in last night. I correct the oversight and am unable to ignore my internal clock. It’s time to get up.
Closing the doors of the bathroom, I hit the light switch. Nothing happens. It takes me a moment of standing in the dark to try it a few more times. Still nothing. They must be doing electrical work on the building. Nice of the office to warn us.
I go put on my glasses, fetch some candles from my room, and head to the living room for a lighter. Jeff’s still asleep on the couch, cocooned in the purple comforter that’s in need of laundering, and the laptop is blissfully silent. He likes to let it play videos while he falls asleep, and I can’t help but be a little annoyed about it today. The battery’s probably been run dry. Oh well. I guess my preferred silence is mandatory today.
Snatching the lighter, I go light the candles before putting it back in its place. My glasses go back in their case then I get my contacts in and go about my business. I can’t help but enjoy working in candlelight. There’s a certain old-world charm, a certain mystique about it. The shower, though, is a little awkward. There’s no hot water, either, and I curse the cause, whether roommate or electrician. At least the ground itself is warm enough to make sure I don’t have a completely miserable experience.
Finishing that leg of my routine and putting the candles away, I head to the kitchen. There’s more cursing of electricians as I realize how dependent my preparation is on power. I shouldn’t open the fridge, so as much cool air as possible can be maintained in there. Who knows how long it’ll be before electricity comes back on. So no yogurt. I won’t be able to microwave the remains of yesterday’s tea and I won’t be able to heat water for fresh stuff either. I can’t get to the filtered water anyway. I won’t even be able to cook eggs! Damn them and their timing. Why couldn’t they wait until Sunday or Monday? Or started earlier?
I empty my Thermos into my mug before filling it with soapy water to soak. Resigning myself to drinking cold tea, I sip on it while turning in a circle, trying to figure out what to do about breakfast. Eventually I crack open a can of pears and fish out my fork. As for what I’ll eat at work, I’ll probably just order something. It’s not healthy, but it’s the best I can do considering the circumstances. And who knows. Maybe the power’ll come back on while I still have time to get stuff together.
I eat my pears on the vacant couch while enjoying the silence. The router’s not on so I don’t even bother with the laptop. Even if it has battery, I don’t think I care enough to mess with it. Instead, I try to remember how to cold brew iced tea. I prefer my tea hot, so I never paid much attention to the instructions, let alone tried it out. Twice the leaves and… fuck if I know how much extra time. I want to say I’ve seen 14 minutes mentioned somewhere but that just can’t be right. Maybe one of my tea packages will tell me.
Finishing off the pears, I hurry back to the kitchen and rummage through my collection. I can only find instructions for making iced tea with hot water, though, and I decide I’ll have to resort to experimentation.
Meaning to get the water pitcher from the fridge as quick as I can, I notice the fridge isn’t cold at all inside. How long has the electricity been off? An oblivious roommate must have decided the power outage was a fine time to be indecisive about getting a snack. I glower at nothing in particular as I catch a whiff of spoilage. Looks like I’ll have to stop at the store on the way home.
I wash my Thermos and try my hand at cold brewing. I’ll find out how well I did at work. Left with plenty of time before having to leave, according to my internal clock, I snag a book off my dusty shelf and settle down on the vacant couch to read. After a while, it feels like the right time to get ready to go. I just hope I’m not overestimating and making myself late. I’m sure they’d forgive my tardiness once I tell them what’s going on, though, as these aren’t exactly normal circumstances. Generally I’m really good about showing up on time.
I throw on my uniform, grab my dead phone so I don’t feel awkward all day without the familiar weight in my pocket, lace up my boots, and grab my backpack and Thermos before heading to my car. I can’t help but smile a little when I get outside. Dark clouds cover the sky as far as the eye can see, promising the bad weather I crave.
The dash tells me it’s 3:17. I’m glad I underestimated, as I tend to when I’m waiting for something. I consider for a moment going back inside to read a little longer, but it’s close enough to 3:30 that I just head out, radio blaring and windows cracked to get some cool air in.
Traffic is surprisingly light. Go figure. The one day I wouldn’t mind being slowed down, everything’s going smoothly. I go the speed limit, sometimes even a little under to kill time and save gas, and only pass a few other cars on the road. Looks like no one’s in a rush to get anywhere today. Is it Saturday maybe? My suspicion is lent greater credibility by the number of cars parked alongside the roads. There must be a lot of garage sales or something. I briefly consider stopping to check one out but I hate being in public in my uniform. I also only have about two dollars in my wallet. And it’s not like I need more stuff. If anything, I should get rid of some!
I arrive at work too early and sit in my car, listening to the radio, until the clock hits 3:54. I tell the smokers “Hello,” badge in, and head inside. I’m happy to see Dan’s working ops today. He’s quiet and leaves me to my own designs, qualities I prize in coworkers. And, as usual, the guard I’m replacing apparently doesn’t have anything to pass down to me. She doesn’t even bother coming back inside from the smoke hole.
Settling in, I notice that the computer isn’t on. And neither, for that matter, are the lights. A bird must’ve gotten into the wrong place again. Poor bird. Oh well. Natural selection at work, I guess. They’ll surely have the electricity back on soon, and for the mean time, I pull out my notebook, find my place, and resume work on my novel.
At 7:00, I have two cups of tea. It didn’t turn out that bad, surprisingly, but my preference is unchanged. I consider what I’m going to do for dinner and sadly recognize the power’s still out. Maybe it was more than a bird this time. Regardless, I won’t be able to order anything. I guess I’ll just have to tough it out and eat when I get home. Maybe I’ll get potstickers or something at the store.
I go back to my notebook and don’t realize how dark it is until I can’t see what I’m writing anymore. I fetch a flashlight from the back office and set it up to shine on my paper. It’s almost as amusing as working by candlelight.
When 10:00 rolls around, I have a couple more cups of tea. I also realize that not a single truck or contractor has shown up. It must be a holiday weekend. Labor Day? I never know. I get back to work on my novel and when 11:50 hits, I pack up to go. I wait anxiously for my relief. She always shows up at the last minute, if she isn’t a little late. I curse my luck but go check the smoke hole to see if she’s there. Surprise, surprise, she’s lounging on the bench. I tell her I haven’t seen a single truck, sure she’ll be happy to hear it, and wish her luck with getting through the night. Then I check the clock to make sure it’s past midnight, grab my stuff, and badge out.
I stop by the store and am surprised to see there are no lights on. Worried, I creep past the doors. While I don’t see a sign or anything, the place definitely looks closed. I must’ve just missed them, based on the number of cars still in the parking lot. I curse holidays and resign myself to scavenging for dinner at home and getting breakfast goods in the morning.
Heading home, I note with annoyance that the gate is stuck open again. While it’s nice to not have to swipe my card, which may or may not work, I’m paying for a gated community! I swear, they should give us discounts to our rent when this happens…
I manage to find a parking spot then head inside. It’s pitch black. Groping for the light switch beside the door, I flip it, only to find the electricity is still out. I shuffle inside, deposit my stuff, and fumble blindly for candles and the lighter. Jeff must be asleep already or else these things would already be out. As I prepare light, I’m happy all I have is scented candles. The apartment smells a bit funky. I’ll need to get onto Jeff about taking out the garbage.
Once I have a jar candle going, I confirm that Jeff is indeed asleep. I wonder if he even left the couch today. I change out of my uniform before meandering into the kitchen. My dinner options are limited but luckily I have some soup that I enjoy even when it’s cold. I get that into a bowl, eat in silence on the vacant couch, then clean up my mess. Afterward, I linger in limbo for a minute, trying to figure out what to do. The laptop’s out of the question and I certainly won’t be able to watch DVDs. I guess I’ll read by candlelight until I get tired.
I prep for bed just so I don’t have to worry about it later and settle under the sheets with a book, the candle on my nightstand. I set my phone on the floor nearby and read until I can’t keep my eyes open. Then I blow the candle out, put away my glasses, and enjoy the blissfully silent apartment as I drift off.
When I awaken, I’m unexpectedly rested. I figured lawn care would come by and wake me up, but apparently they haven’t come today—at least not yet.