Judy and I jumped when a bolt of lightning exploded nearby. She screamed, and I raised hands to shelter my head. I thought in that split second that the incredibly loud bang had popped just above my ears.
The wind whipped around the house and torrents poured down. The gutters overflowed, and the driving rain turned the front yard magnolia into a greenish gray blur.
The storm calmed after fifteen minutes of rage but made an unexpected return a few minutes later. The interference in the atmosphere disrupted the last words of the Downton Abbey dowager as the series drew to a close. The sun peeped out an hour later, and the air conditioner clicked on to counter the steam heat creeping inside.
We turned on 60 Minutes after supper. The show was a repeat, so we decided to watch the second half of an episode of Doc Martin. (I had fallen asleep halfway through my last attempt.) We managed to view one scene when a loud bang sounded from behind the house. The TV cut out, and the lights quit. A lingering green glow lit the sky in the west window for a few seconds.
The lights came back on. But I said, “Wait for it,” and the back up transformer blew. Darkness. I stumbled around looking for hurricane lanterns and ran face first into my bedroom door. I called out to Judy, “I’m okay.”
We lit the living room with two lanterns. I ventured outside in stocking feet to survey lights on/lights off in the neighborhood. The neighbors to the west had power, but a strip of houses heading north hunkered dark and sullen. Judy called Duke Energy and found out that crews had been sent to restore service to 1000 people.
I carefully returned to my bedroom and found my baritone uke in the closet. I strummed some folk tunes, and Judy sang along. That killed about fifteen minutes. We considered watching something on Judy’s laptop, but I felt lethargic and sank deeper into my seat. She could if she wanted, but I didn’t give a damn.
We opened the front door to catch a breeze and heard frogs chirruping outside. Closed my eyes and decided to find out how it felt to just wait. My anxieties chose to visit, but I didn’t mind them all that much. They were like relatives at a reunion, the ones with whom you don’t volunteer to sit. They annoy, but the irritation carries the minor key comfort of familiarity.
Judy decided to load a DVD on her laptop. And while she waited for it to boot, I heard odd noises in the drainage ditch out back. Looked out the window and saw men with poles and lights fussing near an oak. Chain saw noises, men shouting. A branch fell. The men clustered under the tree and poked long yellow poles upward.
They mucked around another ten minutes, then the lights flashed on in the house. I heard a printer in my bedroom come to life unbidden like it always does after an outage. The clocks blinked. The air conditioner clicked on.
I shut the front door and settled into my recliner. We restarted the interrupted Doc Martin episode, and I finally saw Aunt Ruth come to terms with the son of a former lover. A little girl got a proper diagnosis. Al and Morwenna discussed Al’s penchant for failing in business. Louisa broached the possibility of becoming a child therapist. And Martin was rude.