The electricity went out yesterday. Someone hit a transformer or a gopher chewed through a wire or something. Or Tom forgot to pay the bill. Anyway, we immediately got the situation in hand and the power company said that they’d send someone right out. The next day. Sometime between seven a.m. and six p.m. We were relieved to feel their sense of urgency.
First of all, let me say that Tom was mortified. I have no idea why. We’ve been together almost three years, and he’s never shown the slightest bit of irresponsibility. For me, forgetfulness is almost a religion. So this just didn’t seem like that big a deal. Except for the fact that we live in the middle of Cracktown, U.S.A.
Tom came home from work and said, “Well, we’ll just roll with it.” He started looking for candles.
“I thought you said we could stay at a hotel,” I reminded him.
“Nahhhh…we’ll just stay here. It’ll be fun!” I couldn’t believe that his idea of fun and mine had suddenly diverged to such a degree.
“What are we going to do? Sit around in the dark and look at the walls until bedtime?”
“Sure,” he said enthusiastically. “It’ll be like camping.”
I looked at him like he’d escaped from a mental institution on Mars. “Look,” I said. “This will not be fun. I won’t be able to sleep. I can’t even sleep when the porch light’s on. It’ll be like ‘Invasion of the Crackheads. ‘ They’ll smell my fear.” Now he was looking at me funny.
The sun was quickly going down, and he began getting comfortable, grabbing a glass of lukewarm milk and settling in for the night. I started packing a suitcase. “You can stay. I’m going to find a hotel.”
I really wasn’t mad. Honest. If he wanted to hold down the fort during the blackout, that was fine. I just wanted light, air conditioning, and Tom Bodett assuring me that he’d leave the porch light on for me.
Tom started throwing things into the suitcase too. “I’m not letting you run off to some hotel by yourself,” he grumbled.
So off we went. We stopped to get some dinner, then booked a room at a not-fancy-but-perfectly-decent hotel. It had a desk, a fridge, a microwave, wireless internet, and a very comfy bed. I LOVE this kind of stuff. Give me a clean room, crisp white sheets, and LIGHTS and I’m as happy as a clam (Are clams really happy? How do we know? Where did this term originate?). Cable was included, and since we don’t have it at home, even HBO seemed foreign and luxurious. The night was starting to feel like a romantic vacation. Tom laid on the bed and I snuggled up next to him. He began to relax, mostly because I’d bought him some beer to ease his pain. After a few sips, he suddenly bolted upright and said, “Shit!” Tom never says “Shit.” The power company had said they wouldn’t turn our electricity back on unless the breakers were off. Tom had forgotten to do it. He had to drive all the way back home. He was most unhappy.
By the time he returned to the hotel, it was late and he was exhausted. He quickly fell asleep. As I watched him lie there, I realized that he was as homesick as a kid on the first day of camp. He missed his house, crack hood or not, electricity or no electricity. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about a place I’ve lived. He’s moved about 5 times in his entire life. I’ve moved over thirty.
So that was our tenuous, pretend, could-possibly-have-been-romantic-but-wasn’t one-day vacation. We didn’t watch cable. We didn’t use the microwave. We didn’t even use the shower. Tom had to be at work this morning, so we checked out early and chugged convenience store coffee on the way to take me home.
You know, he never gave me a hard time about any of this. He just hugged me and apologized for it happening in the first place. He’s still the sweetest man I know. No electricity yet, though. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.