November 14, 2006 at 11:36 AMA winter wonderland can be serene and blissful. But Satan lives just north of me, and every once in a while he whips out his pan flute and blows. When I awoke this morning to the cheesy howling, I laughed. Ridiculous! Now I get to experience a powdery acid bath every time I dash from building to car. I wasn’t laughing long. 40-mile-an-hour wind combined with single-digit temps will freeze-dry the smile off anyone’s face in a heartbeat. Suddenly, I must reconsider every action that requires outdoor transitions. ...which explains the Taco Bell dinner in a toasty car on the way to the wedding rehearsal. Taco Bell, wedding rehearsal, then tuck myself back home again for the evening to practice for tomorrow’s school concert.
However, about a mile from home, I became aware that an ominous inky blackness surrounded me. With nary a light to speckle the landscape, my stomach sank a bit. Sure enough, I pulled into my driveway to confirm it: I had no electricity. The devil must have succeeded in knocking something onto the power line. The house was already chilling. Unable to practice in the frigid dark, and too apathetic to scrounge up a candle or flashlight, I grabbed my crochet and headed back to my car while it still held a bit of heat. Fred Meyer it is, then.
Fred Meyer is about the only place that’s open late and has a few options for entertainment that don’t involve getting drunk. I opted for the sage colored easy chair in the furniture department and settled into my next snowflake ornament. 90's easy listening music filtered through the air, interspersed with produce advertisements ("Pears: you can eat them!").
Slowly, the aisles filled with people, buzzing with the latest power outage updates. Couples discussed candle options. Old timers offered tips on keeping houses warm sans electricity. Coffee shop girls waved to me between cell phone dialogue. Junior high boys played Capture the Teddy Bear, delineating their territories by department and aisle. Moms and babies, shelf stockers, and janitors all made the rounds as I finished my own round of crochet and began the next, waiting, like everyone else, for time to pass.
But lo, what was that sound over the loudspeaker? Ukulele? No! In a memory as fresh as the catch of the day, the first sweet notes instantaneously took me all the way across the Pacific Ocean, to an island where Bruddah Iz himself strummed and sang to me:
“Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high,
And the dreams that you dreamed of, Once in a lullaby.
Oh, somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly,
And the dreams that you dreamed of, Dreams really do come true.
“Someday, I'll wish upon a star,
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where trouble melts like lemon drops,
High above the chimney top,
That's where you'll find me.
“Oh, somewhere, over the rainbow, bluebirds fly,
And the dreams that you dare to. Oh why, oh why can't I?”
No–musn’t cry–not in Fred Meyer, and especially not in the furniture section. But for that one instant, I remembered the land of fresh tuna and flora, the land of humidity and mild sand. I remembered suntans and flip flops, and luaus and fresh pineapple, and macadamia nuts and Kona coffee. Was it just me, or did the aisles fall quiet for just a moment, and did people pause from their rough sledding for a brief instant?
Yes, I believe it’s true that there’s no place like home, but a Hawaiian vacation every once in a while doesn’t hurt.
Thank you for sharing that, and the sense of togehterness it brought my heart, as I sit in my house, warm, by myself, lethargicly putting off the dishes, waking up for time no.2.
I know it is horrible that people are uprooted and storms devestate, but a power outage isn't so terrible, so I can say how it feels to have advasary turned to community togetherness.
From the outside, of course.
I want a sage coloured comfy chair!
Jennifer, don't I wish I had a sage comfy chair! It's fun to enjoy little perks like the Fred Meyer furniture section. I told my friends today that in the event of future power outages, we will all meet there and throw a party.
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