Sunday, February 24, 2008

Darcy and the Dark

Last night as we were eating Sunday dinner the power went out in my parent's home. It was a stormy evening, with the rain dripping fast from the sky and a wind that was blowing the bare branches around. Fortunately The Councilwoman had decided on a sturdy (lovely) candle for a centerpiece.

At first there was a collective round-table cheer, because what is more awesome than a storm-caused power outage? And moments later, when we were still sitting in the dark, I was entertained by everyone's individual reaction to the slight crisis:

Chup, obsessed with flashlights went right to the never failing "messy drawer" and fished out a flashlight. My mother wasn't certain of its origins, and when Chup turned it on it was dimmer than Huckabee's chances to win the Republican nomination. This was not satisfactory for Chup who then improvised by using the light of his blackberry pearl.

My father jumped up from the table to fetch wood from outside. He built up both fires in the living and family rooms. He no doubt relished in his ability to pull the pioneer spirit out of his ancestry in a pinch.

Vanessa, our practical British neighbor came to the back door asking The Councilwoman when the power was going to be restored. My mom replied,

"How would I know?

And Vanessa cried,

"You are on the city council, you can call someone."

So my mom (always ready to please a constituent) called the power company who answered and hung up the phone like this,

"We're working on it."

(So much for political pull.)

When Lucy asked Vanessa why the urgency, Vanessa explained,

"I'm watching Mr. Darcy on PBS!" Except it came out in her proper British voice making me want to watch Mr. Darcy too, not Elizabeth or Jane or Lady Catherine de Bourgh or that silly Kitty, but Mr. Daaahrcy.

Then the power came on!

We cheered.

Then the power went off!

Vanessa left in a huff.

Lucy, eager to watch the Oscar's red carpet entries, asked Ric to take her home. When he didn't respond she told him to play a joke on my mother, when he didn't respond again she flipped her hair and stomped off.

Meanwhile Ric just kept eating.

Grandma would yell, "Shut the door!" each time it was opened, and Grandpa Don left to go Home Teaching regardless.

And I.

I just sat there thinking (and hoping) in my sensationally-driven wonderment that this was a signal of The End. I calculated my food storage supply and considered a diet of oat cakes with a slice of dried prune. It also occurred to me that in a few months time I would have to give birth in meager circumstances . . . maybe by the light of a glow stick. The prospect was chilling to me. Both destitute and romantic. Apocalyptically endearing!



And when the power was restored, I was the only one a bit disappointed.