47. Powerlessly


Okay, it’s the killer heat wave of the summer of 2012. Without any blockbuster movies or other huge news distractions, we are focused on the weather for now. No Son of Sam shootings or celebrity kidnappings or international dramas going on. Just Obamacare and the heat wave…both of which will pass. Have you noticed that our American society has come to more or less expect a crisis per week? We have become such drama junkies that we need a bigger fix more often than Keith Richards in his heyday. Credit 24 hour news for filling up the old void that used to be dead air time for sleeping and just shutting down. Then the internet trumped super updated television news. Which was then trumped by Twitterworld and instant drooling over facebook gossip. “Time goes by so slowly…and time can do so much…are you still mine?” If you are still reading this blog post, what is wrong with you? Dare you ignore “Unchained Melody”‘s urgings to check your status? All sorts of wickedly dramatic things are swirling around out in this historic heatplosion and you are slowly reading this stuff? Bloghandi, at least text your Media Anonymous sponsor and talk it through with himorher. People could be talking smack about you and you’ll be the 43rd to know. Oh the horror!

Collateral heat damage occurred. This is real though not dramatic. My 88 year old mother-in- law lost power in her Mclean, Virginia neighborhood home. Her house cooked into the 90’s and there is no definitive power back up date yet.  We have electricity here in the ruburbs of Central PA, but CNN told us that there was a blackout in the D.C. suburbs. So my wife swung into action. She sped off to her mom’s aid and brought her to our air conditioned house for the weekend. Grandma T is a trouper. She wedged her large frame into our little Honda Civic for the drive north. When she arrived, we pried her out; engaged her walker; walked 12 feet; sat and rested for the three steps up to our front door; and then made the big push into the upholstered chair my wife had raised 1 1/2 inches before she left earlier this morning. “Ploosh”  she flumped into the chair and has remained there for the last few hours. She’s watching a movie on my new laptop as I type on the old desktop. We all must sacrifice in a life or death situation.

Now we’ve been talking about buying a generator. G’ma T wondered where we’d plug it in. After a lot of loud shouts (she’s a bit hard of hearing) we managed to educate her that a generator actually makes electricity and you then plug things into the generator.  The longer we talked about it, the muddier the discussion became.  “Well, we’ll need a professional to install the generator, won’t we?”  I felt myself being pulled into the response team when she used the 1st person plural pronoun. “Actually, it’s like camping, Thelma. The generator is on wheels so no installation is necessary. It’s a glorified lawnmower that does not cut grass but makes electricity.”  “Oh” she said, meaning, “I still don’t understand this.”

Along the way she told me again for maybe the dozenth time that important people live in her neighborhood and so the county will likely make sure that power is restored there as a priority. (Power to the powerful.) “Justice Scalia and Kennedy, to name just a couple.”  I’m not sure how important your political status is during an electrical blackout, but my mother-in-law believes that it gives her street the edge in getting on-line sooner.  I wonder if the justices have generators at their houses or if big limos just roll up in an emergency and whisk them away to the Underground Supreme Court, which is reported to be in the mountains of West Virginia. Such powerful people are not used to being powerless on any level and could become cranky if they have to swim in the humidity too long. A power outage involving the valves of the heart of our legal system could wind up in juris prudence cardiac arrest. Imagine if Brown vs. The Board of Education had been under analysis during a heat wave? Or Roe vs. Wade. We might not even have the internet to blather on about insignificant impulses like this. In fact,  this heat wave may well be an assault on the First Amendment.

My wife just checked in with me. “Feeling blogged up?” she inquired. “Need a blogenema?” That’s just weird enough to be notable. I chuckled and proceeded to memorialize this joke, chastened but not completely powerless.

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