On Saturday night the single most terrible thing we can imagine happened at stately IPB Manor: our power went out. At approximately 6:25 p.m., with a violent windstorm raging outside, everything went black. We sat in the darkness for a few moments, stunned, before Boomer rustled up three candles, and we each retreated to our own corners of the manse to cope with the shock of it all in our own personal ways. For some, coping included reading by candlelight. For others, coping was all about cursing the darkness. And so we were as time slowly passed. The Devils game in Toronto started without us. We began to realize there is a reason electric lights were invented in the first place, as reading by candlelight is a pain in the ass. And then we got hungry.
Since we have very few public utilities in our neck of the woods, stately IPB Manor runs almost entirely on electricity. Without power, the pump in our well doesn’t work. Without power, our stove and oven don’t work. Without power, our freezer doesn’t work. At approximately 8:00 p.m. we congregated once more, stomachs growling, candles sputtering, and conferred about what we could do for dinner. There is little in the pantry that doesn’t require some kind of cooking, and no appliances on hand that would work. Then Pookie remembered that, in the dying freezer, there was the better part of an ice cream cake. We fell on it, carving out huge chunks of it with spoons (it was too cold to just dig at with our bare hands), desperate for sustenance. It was then that Boomer suggested we go to a hotel. That’s right, Gentle Reader — after just about 90 minutes without power, we were ready to give in.
Boomer insisted going to a hotel was the only thing to do. “We can’t flush the toilets!” she pointed out. “And we don’t have any heat!”
Schnookie refused. “It’s only been an hour and a half. We have no idea how long the power’s going to be out. And it’s, like, forty out. It’s not that cold.”
Pookie sided with Schnookie, then suggested we eat out, since we couldn’t cook. Schnookie thought that was insane, “But the power’s probably out there, too!” It’s questionable what she meant by “there” in that — did she mean that every restaurant had no power? Pookie considered it, and began running down a list of possible providers of nourishment that are outside IPB Manor’s immediate neighborhood. “We could go to Sumo Sushi in Pennington,” she listed, “Or TJ’s in Lawrenceville, or Uno’s in Hamilton.” Long pause. “And that’s it. There are no other restaurants.” Schnookie didn’t bite. “I can’t get dressed to go out,” she said, “It’s too dark.” Damn. We were stuck with ice cream cake.
We ate disconsolately, the only sounds in the room the backdrop of the roaring wind buffeting the walls of our house and our spoons scraping on our dessert plates.
Finally, Pookie broke the silence: “It’s a good thing we didn’t go out, because we’d probably have been attacked for our car.” We nodded in somber agreement, then turned a wary eye to the front window of the living room. Ominous flashes of candlelight could be seen in our neighbors’ windows.
Schnookie shuddered. “Forget dinner. I’m just going to get in my car and I’m going to drive. I’m just going to drive until the gas runs out, and then I’m going to get out and curl up on the side of the road and die. Of course, I only have one tick of gas left in my car, so I won’t get far.” Boomer piped up, “I just tanked my car up.” Pause. “We could get all the way to that truck stop we passed that time we drove down to Nana’s!” Pookie snorted, “The Vince Lombardi truck stop? That’s not on the way to Louisiana.” Schnookie: “She means South of the Border.” We fell into silence again.
Suddenly, a flash outside caught our eye — was that a light on across the street? We darted to the window, pressing our noses to the glass, hyperventilating at the thought of sweet, sweet electricity. Schnookie shouted, “I’m going to move in at the neighbors’!” Pookie declared she would be invited in with open arms because she would bring them ice cream cake, since they probably had no food in their house and had not eaten in weeks. Boomer pointed out that they were probably getting the Devils game.
The Devils game.
Our spirits fell again at the mention of it, at the mention of the action that was happening right then, when we had no access to it. And then our spirits fell further when we realized our neighbors were just using a flashlight. Boomer piped up, “I could go sit in my car in the driveway, idling it and listening to the game on the radio.” Pookie retorted, “Idling your car in your driveway is illegal. Although it probably doesn’t matter, because I’m pretty sure we’re under martial law right now.” We looked out the window again and shivered at the inky, windy blackness shielding us from the sight of the lawlessness that lay beyond our safe walls.
And then, at approximately 8:30 p.m., the lights came back on again. As the television blinked on, and we were greeted by DirecTV’s “Welcome. Powering up…” message, we nearly wept with relief. Schnookie intoned gravely, “I have been stripped to my very animal essence, and now I have had my life returned to me.” That, Gentle Reader, is what happens when you force hockey fans to go two hours without electricity — they lose their humanity. Somehow, we survived. We may not be so lucky next time.