It’s 6:14 PM here on the East Coast, and the power has just gone out. The glow from my computer screen is the only source of light in the room—it’s permanently 12:00 and the ubiquitous electric hum has been silenced. The lack of light has heightened my auditory and olfactory senses: the wind is deafening and someone four rooms away is eating cold Friskies cat food. It’s common knowledge that nobody really knows what people do during power outages. If you pick your nose and don’t tweet about it, did it actually happen? While that answer is debatable, one thing is not: we’re all probably going to die in this storm. So to whoever finds this: please save the following account of my electricity-less life as a story of the truth behind what people do when the power’s gone.
It’s been forty minutes since the tiny gnomes that carry electricity through wires tragically drowned. By now, everyone knows the power’s not coming back anytime soon. Shadows have started emerging in the darkness and creaks and distant sirens fill the air. I’m so startled. I settle in for a long night, and try to finish the movie I was watching, but I quickly realize it’s not completely buffered. How will I finally find out what happens to Queen Latifah’s character in The Last Holiday? Will she die? Who will save her? I can only go through three quarters of a character arc so many times, and I’ve already memorized all the lines.
Two hours later, I’ve moved on to eating. I’ve exhausted every dry food source in this apartment, and I’m not proud of it but I tried the Fancy Feast that’s been sitting out in the kitchen for a few weeks. It tasted exactly how I expected it would: like four-day-old chicken cheese steak remnants in a broth of leftover takeout Chinese curry. If I can’t see myself eating it, it’s like it didn’t even happen anyway. I feel dirty, and I have a sudden urge to find a litter box.
I’m slowly but surely progressing into insanity. My phone has died and the only thing I’m craving less than more Meow Mix is human interaction. My computer is at 46% battery, which is impressive seeing as I’ve read and/or masturbated to just about every old document on here. The Scarlet Letter: A Book Report wasn’t my first choice, but it got the job done. I really wish I hadn’t saved all those old IM conversations with my high-school girlfriend. I should have seen that sex change coming. Yeah, just don’t read those if you find them.
It’s now been four hours since the power shut off. My computer is on reserve battery and will die soon, just like the rest of us. I’ve been preparing for the apocalypse, but it’s done me little good so far. When the world ends and everyone in this house dies without so much as a goodbye facebook status, a flashlight won’t help much. I’ve mentally decided that once the Whiskas runs out, my mildly autistic roommate down the hall will be the first to go. If only the George Foreman were still working.
I’ve started trying to chew my toenails. Nobody has to know, nobody’s going to find out. It feels oddly liberating to realize that none of my actions have any consequences since I’m unable to report every action to the outside world. When this storm blows this house and all of us in it into oblivion the only thing left of me will be this document, and everything else—everything I’ve ever tweeted— won’t matter anymore. I kind of like not feeling required to submit a stream of consciousness into the public, you know, maybe It doesn’t matter whether people know what I’m doing at all times. Maybe I’ll stop, maybe from now on—oh! The power’s back! I can’t wait to tweet about how awful that was.