Letter from the Editor 

So my wife and I are sitting happily in the kitchen Monday night. It's about 8 o'clock. We've just finished take-out — vermicelli with eggrolls — from Pho Vietnam, which means no dishes to clear. I take the dinner detritus out back to the recycling bins. It's a muggy Memphis night. Low clouds obscure the Perseid meteor shower that's supposed to happen. There's a faint glow in the western sky from a sunset that's now over Tulsa. Summer in Memphis. Steamy as Delta of Venus. Being outside is like being wrapped in warm, moist towels.

Inside the house, the air conditioning is set to "stun." I pour a glass of rosé. We take our designated television chairs, turn on the set, and prepare to watch Ray Donovan on demand. Because "on demand" is how we roll. Then everything goes dark. And quiet. You can hear the scritch-scritch of the dogs walking on the hardwood, as they come to investigate. You can hear my 16-year-old stepson thundering down the stairs.

"What happened?" he asks.

"Power went out," I say. "Will you go out back and see if the house is unplugged?"

He almost falls for it. Not quite. He's getting wise to my tricks.

"Should you go check the breaker box?" my wife says.

"No, first, we check to see if it's just us or the whole neigborhood."

The answer comes quickly. The neighbors are all outside, standing in front of their houses in the dark. One person has called MLGW to report the outage. There's nothing to do but wait.

The first 10 minutes of a power outage are the hardest. You keep thinking it's going to come back on any minute. We sit in the dark, looking at our iPhones (which lend a lovely romantic glow to the living room), checking the outage map, texting. My stepson comes downstairs again, announces that his dad has power and he has homework to do. So off he goes.

"What do we do until bedtime?" my wife wonders.

"We'll just have to pretend we're Amish. Maybe we should light candles and talk to each other, or something radical like that."

And so we did. We sat on the front porch and talked by candlelight and had a lovely time. Lots of folks from the neighborhood were out walking in the dark. We waved. They waved back. Solidarity. We were all Amish for the night. And it was nice.

We went to bed at around 10, because why not? After a little tossing and turning, we even managed to fall asleep in our muggy bedroom. ... Until that magic moment in the middle of the night when the lights, the AC, and Ray Donovan all came on at once and we were no longer Amish.

Bruce VanWyngarden

brucev@memphisflyer.com

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Tiger Blue

Three Thoughts on Tiger Football

News Blog

Layoffs Again Hit Commercial Appeal Newsroom

Hungry Memphis

The Return of BreakFest

Fly On The Wall Blog

Murder Owl Wins First FOTW Spirit Animal Poll

News Blog

State to Reinstate Work Requirement for Food Stamps

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Julien Baker

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • A Letter to the Memphis City Council

    The council gets an “F” for its performance on the Greensward decision.
    • Mar 10, 2016
  • Detention Deficit

    Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."

    • Mar 10, 2016
  • Vendor in the Grass

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare

    Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.

    • Mar 31, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation