duck-shaped pain


20 October 2002
In the dark.

A small plane crashed into a power line near my house last night. The crash caused a three-hour blackout that ranged for miles. I was happily checking email and listening to crap radio when everything went black all of a sudden.

I rounded up my few candles and lit them. The light was just bright enough to write by, but a few minutes of scrawling things in the dim light made my eyes hurt. It was late, but I thought that going to bed wouldn't be a good idea. I was sure I would go to bed and just get to sleep and then the lights would come on and I would have to get up and go turn everything on. So I was determined to wait out the blackout. But I got sleepy and went to bed, and wouldn't you know it, that's when the lights came on.

I only have one real blackout-related memory. I mean, I've been in plenty of them, but they've always been brief or in the daytime, when they're hardly worth mentioning.

This particular blackout took place when I was in middle school, I think, and my mom and I were at the mall when the power went out there. It was really disorienting: there's all these lights and flashing things and mirrors, and then all of a sudden, it all goes away. We were in the deep interior of the mall, where there are no windows, so it was dark dark.

Some of the larger stores had alternate power sources, so most people started making their way towards these beacons of dim, dim light at the ends of the mall. Not me, though (I don't remember where my mom was in all of this). I decided to continue shopping.

I snuck into the kitchen store through its side entrance and decided that this would be a good time to smell their coffees. I made my way to the back of the store in total darkness, without even knocking my heat or legs into anything (we went to the mall a lot then, so I probably had that store's layout etched into my mind). I lifted up the lids on the coffee bins and took a deep sniff. The strong aromas were enhanced by not being able to see what I was doing.

I was really into it, when I was interrupted by a trembling store employee, wielding a tiny flashlight. Seems that they weren't expecting anyone to be in the store, and hearing the light thwap of coffee bin lids coming from dark recesses of the store was slightly nerve-wracking for the ladies in charge. "How did you get back here?" she asked. I didn't have a good answer, so she then gruffly escorted me out of the store.

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