Friday, June 16, 2017

Powered down

Why, I wonder, is the refrigerator dark when I open the door?

The power is out.  I keep reaching for electrons that aren’t there.  Flip a switch and wonder for a second, why is there no light. The electric blue of the flame under the tea kettle seems magical, a bit over the top, in my dim kitchen. The quiet is so deep I can hear the carpenter bees chewing away at the branch in the garden and the first pings of the tea coming to the boil.  How can the bees be so loud? I had no idea that the tea kettle was signaling me so long before it whistles.  I wonder if it shrieks so because I've ignored its repeated polite reminders, "I am at the boil. Boiling.  Yes, I am boiling nicely, thank you."  

The internet leaks in through my phone, a burp of news here and there.
PECO: Outage in area .... Cause = Equipment problem. Estimated Restoration Time = 06/14 12:00PM. Text STOP to stop all PECO texts.  
Early this morning the expected return of power was 8:20 am.  Now the stated restoration time has move to 12:00 PM.  I translate: "It’s more complicated than we thought, so we’ll say 'noon' because 'We have not the foggiest.' would be unwise."

Thermodynamics.  I’m thinking about rates of energy transfer and isolated systems.  I put my tea in the insulated pot, screwing the lid on tightly, forcing it to hold onto its heat.  I imagine the molecules restlessly shimmying around inside, unable to get comfortable.  Most mornings I pop the 2nd cup into the microwave to stir up the molecules again when it gets cold, prodding them awake with photons, but today there is no rest for the weary.

I switch off the wifi on my laptop, not wanting to spend electrons for what I cannot have. Toast. No. Oven. Nope. Plans for the laundry. Derailed.

I open the refrigerator door. Why, I wonder, is it dark?


  1. I love your scientific viewpoint of a power outage! Hope those molecules are stirring once again!

    1. Everything is jostling as it should!

  2. No toast? Bread+gas stove+tongs=toast!

    1. True, toast needn't have been off the table. I even have one of those little tent like things that go atop a gas burner to make toast, but apparently I didn't really want toast all that much.