Monday, January 08, 2007

Power To The People

It takes so little to turn an ordinary evening completely surreal.

Last night, my little suburban neighborhood of West Hills was plunged into darkness. All day long we had been plagued by the Santa Anas; you may think that is a quartet of mini-skirted dancers badly rapping about a soft drink, but in fact its a weather phenomenon peculiar to the southwestern United States in which dry-hot winds sweep through the area. And like the Fantanas, they often come on with an annoyingly strong force. Unlike them, they don't come in bright primary colors.

Earlier that day we had tried to take the dogs out for a walk and only got about 2 blocks before turning around and heading home. And later we were at the hardware store garden department, and the nice plant lady kept having to right toppled bushes. It was that windy.

So it was around 8:00pm that night, as I had just surfed through the entire satellite collection and decided that the 150 choices it offered would not satisfy my entertainment needs. I had just made a plan to watch the Bittorrented DR. WHO Christmas episode in my office when the power went out. And it was out everywhere. We went outside and looked at the other houses in the neighborhood. All you could see were their silhouettes, contrasted against the eerie LA glow of the night sky. Somewhere there was electricity. Somewhere else.

We hunted down enough candles to keep from tripping over things, but soon the awful reality loomed before us - we were completely without entertainment, with no idea when there would be more.

It was a serious issue. We have a lot of money and time invested in a home entertainment center, and we depend on it night after night to occupy our minds. We couldn't watch television; we couldn't listen to radio or play CDs. We couldn't go online because even with my trusty iBook laptop, the router was out. Reading by candlelight was out of the question. YOU try it some time.

You may suggest, why not talk? We had actually spent the better part of the day arguing, and while that had all been settled neither of us was anxious to risk starting that up again. We were counting on television to help us avoid talking. And it's true that we easily could have hopped in the car and driven 2 miles to see a movie but it was Sunday night man! Sunday night is when you decompress from your weekend and prepare to face the world on Monday.

Ultimately I dug out the iPod and listened to Retrocrush while Mrs. K. curled up on the couch brooding, and we went to bed a half hour early in the eerie silence. Then at 3:00am the lights all came back on. I turned them off and settled into comfortable normalcy. But the incident nags at me, because I don't like to be reminded how much entertainment means to me. It's not the luxury we all consider it to be. Entertainment is the only thing that keeps us from going mad. If there was a sudden entertainment freeze, it's likely that we would descend into anarchy, chaos and petty land squabbles, just to fill the time. I'm only half kidding when I say this.

We trivialize this stuff at our own peril.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Did your Patchouli drips shut off too? (Time to re-read "Brave New World.")

And I ain't picking on you. We're all equally doomed.