Things to Do Without Power When the Electricity Goes Out at Seven in the Evening

1)      Do not panic. You took dinner out of the oven five minutes ago and this will not disastrously alter your evening. Also, despite the fact that your family has run for the windows and skittered onto the porch, you will eventually rally them all back to the table.

2)      Stand on the front porch and watch the rain. When it gets boring, bargain with your younger sister: you’ll step off the porch, if she will.

3)      Get soaked in the pouring rain. Because you are a master negotiator.

4)      Step back into the house. Marvel at how dim a stormy house can be.

5)      Eat dinner by the light of your mismatched candles and the strange-colored sky. Enjoy the company. Enjoy the quiet that settles in cleanly even though the conversation is quicker and brighter than usual.

6)      Peel an orange for dessert and squeeze the rinds over the candle flame. Watch the oil flash and burn and disappear. Work through every piece of rind you have, flashing bright and filling ht air with sweet orange.

7)      Return to the porch because it’s brighter, because the rain has stopped, because you have been ordered to. Then run into the yard, sliding in the wet grass, because there’s a double rainbow over the house. One bow touches down on both sides, bright and bold and painted in oil on the pale sky. The other glides ghostly beside it, almost tucked out of sight. There hasn’t been a rainbow like that since your cross –country trip, on a long, wide road, a long time ago.

8)      Learn that writing by candlelight is less romantic and more frustratingly shadowy. Which you’ve always suspected was the case, considering how much time, effort, and dogged persistence went into developing the electric light bulb.

9)      Have an unexpected one-song-long-sing-a-long. Someone started it, and you’re not going to be the one to sit out.

10)   Sleep. There’s not much else to do except plan a suitable murder for the flickering candles. Or figure out how to screw a light bulb into a potato.


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