Tuesday, January 31, 2017

When the Lights Go Out...

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in the "big picture" that little things can pass me by.

So much is going on in the world. So much that takes our attention and seems to need our immediate response. My mind is constantly preoccupied these days as I follow the news and try to figure out what I am doing that's making a difference. 

But there's still day to day life. There still needs to be food in the fridge and some kind of dinner plan (does anyone else feel like 90% of their day is trying to figure out dinner?) and not forgetting to get gas before you go to work and shit did I forget to wash my work pants again?

Maybe you have it a little more together than me. I envy you if you do. 

Last night, I settled into bed and found a show on Netflix to fall asleep by. I can't sleep in silence and the light from the TV helps Mr. McKay find his way to bed. About forty minutes after I had tucked myself in I sat up with a startled gasp. I blinked against the pitch black that had consumed me, trying to clear my eyes and squint to see. 

I heard Mr. McKay coming up the stairs. I grabbed my cell phone, using the screen as a flashlight. 

"The power's out," he said as he met me in the hallway.

I grabbed a flashlight from the closet. "That's weird."

It was weird. It wasn't windy or snowing, or doing anything outside that would make you think some power lines got knocked down. 

We made our way to our bed and settled beneath the blankets without the glow of the TV between us. We talked for a few minutes. I was groggy from the short amount of sleep I'd already had. But then a thought occurred to me.

"Is everyone's power out?"

"Yeah... I think."

"Did you pay the electric bill?" There was one thing I knew for certain, I had not paid it. 

The division of labor in our house is fairly even. Cooking, cleaning, food shopping—all that stuff doesn't fall on just one person and I am grateful for it. The same with the bills, but it becomes a little tricky when we have a conversation that: "the cable bill, car insurance, and electric bill need to be paid." Sometimes I think this conversation means he is handling it, sometimes he thinks my acknowledgment of this conversation means I am doing it. In the end, they all get paid.


"Yeah," he said in a way that did not invoke confidence. Then he lit the flashlight and walked to the window to peer through the blinds. "Everyone's out, streetlights too."

"Okay, good."

He climbed back in beside me and I snuggled into him. "I knew I paid it," he whispered into the dark, almost as if he was assuring himself. 

I woke up a few hours later to blinking clocks and the low hum of electronics around us.

We're trying to be good neighbors and good citizens. We often feel powerless in these uncertain times. I don't think we should lose sight of the big picture, of the world around us, of issues bigger than those in our everyday lives. 

But we remembered to pay the electric bill. And I have milk in the fridge for my morning coffee. I just realized there is still a container of pineapple stuck in the back, way past its prime that's slowly decaying because we keep forgetting to toss it when we take the garbage out. We'll get to it eventually.

We keep ourselves informed and support the causes we care about. And we can still make each other laugh when we're plunged into darkness for some unexplained reason. That's the hope that I cling to.

"By night, Love, tie your heart to mine, and the two together in their sleep will defeat the darkness"—Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets


  1. Oh Casey, what a nice couple you are, bet you are lovely neighbours.
    love Jan, xx

  2. You two make such a lovely couple. I love reading about fellow authors in their 'natural environment'. Lol