Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mama said (and so did Momma)

Mama said there'd be days like this.

And, you know what? Mama didn't lie.

Oh, actually, today wasn't so bad. It's just that when I was about to start working on today's post at my computer, the power went out.

I live in a certain amount of fear about the power going out--that is, I would if I ever stopped to think about it, which I don't but should. Because the truth is I live in a community with an inordinate number of large trees, which seem to come down at the merest whisper of wind and storm, and always onto a power line. And today was truly windy and stormy, so it could easily have been predicted that those lights would flicker and then die.

The moment that happens is always an interesting one, wherein one confronts one's utter dependence on electricity, and the fact that one usually takes it way too much for granted. What, a power outage? To moi? Can't be; I've got work to do.

The moment of hubris passes, and then comes the taking of the inventory. Oh, right, the toilet will only have one flush in it--I forget why, but something to do with a pump. And in the winter, the cold starts seeping in within minutes, reminding me that lingering around the house would not be a good thing. The computer, the post? Fagettabout it. Time to leave and go about the other business of the day.

Ah yes, time to leave. Leave. And then I remember: that wonderfully convenient electric garage door opener has to be disabled. Now, how do I do that, again? Each time it happens, I have to learn anew--get out the manual and the flashlight (even though the day was young, it was so dark a flashlight was needed to read the diagrams).

Then, out to the garage. Piece of cake. Just pull that red lever dangling from a rope on the ceiling, and then lift the garage door manually, the old-fashioned way. But the red lever is just an inch out of my reach, even when I stand on tiptoe. I can unlock the door to the house, go back to the closet and get out the stepstool. But really, is it necessary? And by now I'm late. So I decide to jump and grab the lever at the top of my jump. I used to be quite the leaper, having been a ballet dancer/teacher not so very long ago (those of you who are new to my blog may be surprised at that little bit of history, but please see this).

Well, I guess it's been longer than I thought between leaps. Or maybe I'm not used to leaping on a concrete floor. Because somewhere between up and down (it didn't seem to be on the landing; it seemed to happen in the air) I got a sudden sharpish pain in the ankle that went down the foot.

Expletives undeleted, I hobbled around the garage, and found that I could at least walk, although with pain. So I set off.

The rest of the day I'll skip, except to say it involved, among other things: getting lost; an umbrella turning inside-out; and being knocked off the treadmill three times when the power at my workout place failed and then started, failed and then started, failed and then started.

So the post I was going to write turned into this one. I may write the other one and post it tonight, or I may wait till tomorrow.

And this may be as good a time as any to say to those who've been waiting for my next "change" post that it's about two-thirds written, and my prediction is that I'll be posting it some time early next week.

What did I learn today? A lesson I already knew: not only am I not in control of the big things, I'm not even in control of the little things. And in the great vastness of the universe, these are all indeed little things.

And I also learned, to my stupendous surprise (and after some heavy Googling), that in those song lyrics I linked to at the beginning of this piece, it's not "Momma said" and "Momma didn't lie," it's "Mama said" and "Mama didn't lie." After all these years, it's nice to know.


At 6:54 PM, January 18, 2006, Blogger Jamie Irons said...


Man, living out in the sticks as I do can I ever identify with this!

In summer a power outage means no water (well won't pump without electricity), and winter means freezing in the dark, at least till I get out there and haul wood up to the fireplace (actually, it's a very beautiful and elegant insert which can heat the entire 3,500 square feet of my house).

But one does, as you say, realize that one is wholly dependent on the power grid. Such reminders, painful as they are, are probably a good thing.

Jamie Irons

At 6:57 PM, January 18, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

I'm glad you're OK.

And the not so old lyrics: "Mama told me not to come" also don't quite fit -- how you could you NOT come back home to where you live?

3-Dog Night's been on my mind since the Sandra Bullock movie 28 days was on (in Slovak), with "Jerimiah Was a BullFrog" as part of the drunken binge party time. Very appropriate. ... Always had mighty fine wine.

Like your blog is sorta wine for the mind. (I actually had a real thought about how God wants a "justice based on love" -- but virtually all human justice is based on force. And is NOT peaceful.)

At 7:31 PM, January 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is annoying isn't it? I usually have a couple of books that I've not yet read laying around along with the "Walkman" for music. But the coolest thing I have is a "candle lantern" with the pop-up glass chimney and 9-hour spring loaded candles -- light to read and a hand warmer at that!

At 9:16 PM, January 18, 2006, Blogger TmjUtah said...

I guess sharing a load makes it just a little bit lighter.

I'm glad you didn't do grievous damage to the foot. I'm heading in to see my GP about a knee... just as soon as I can get a day ahead of the gentlemen laying pipe behind me on four different roads.

At 10:02 PM, January 18, 2006, Blogger SippicanCottage said...

Now you know why Gray Davis is standing next to the 405 freeway overpass with a handmade sign that reads:
"Will govern for food."

At 10:29 PM, January 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry you had a frazzling day, Neo.
I hadn't thought of "Momma Didn't Lie" for almost 40 years, and I've been humming it under my breath all evening. What a wonderful song, and full of yearning associations from my teenage years.
I remembered the line "you'll be caught by the wink of an eye" as "you'll be caught by the wink of the night." I like the way I remember it.

At 11:02 PM, January 18, 2006, Anonymous Megan said...

I just had to laugh. It was always an adventure when the power went out as a young kid. Now...Goodness it's a nightmare.

Not having access to the internet?!!?! No TV? What on earth could I possibly do!?!?

We're surrounded by trees as well and have lost several parts of our fence this year. I'm sure we'll lose more as the year goes on. A neighbor had a huge piece of tree fall on their roof. Mudslides are everywhere, even closing down part of the freeway one morning.

But I still wouldn't want to live anywhere else! :-)

At 11:22 PM, January 18, 2006, Blogger Meade said...

Tell Me, Momma

At 3:12 AM, January 19, 2006, Anonymous Paul said...

Americans tend to take our conveniences for granted so when the power goes out we see how the other half live all of the time. However, we are blessed, because generally the power is restored and we are then free to bitch and moan about the electric bill ! Isn't this a great country? :)

At 7:32 AM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

"Americans tend to take our conveniences for granted"

We sure do. Being a former Peace Corps volunteer, and call me Mr. Dichotomy if you want for being a former Marine Corps volunteer too, I recall the luxary of returning to the States and getting my first hot shower in a long time. In a bush village you pull water from a well with a bucket and rope, wet yourself, wash, then rinse yourself. I would switch lights off and on just to see them working. Briefly I marveled at the summer's heat compared to the cooled interior of my home thanks to air conditioning. On my first day back, I probably went to the fridge 20 times just to open it and look in at the preserved food and the abundance of food. I had lost alot of weight in the bush due to the heat and a protein deficient diet. It seemed like heaven for about a week, then that wonderful feeling just went away. The luxary of hot water became mundane and boring and soon I didn't even notice electrical lights and the fridge, etc. I think this is human nature though because when the power goes out now, I am about as miserable as the next person is. We want ease and convenience. I was asked any number of times why I had left the good life to come to Africa and live without it.

At 10:31 AM, January 19, 2006, Blogger benning said...

It's been many years since I lived in the north through a winter. I was 22 when I left for California, and thence to Florida. So now it's the power outages in the deep south in the summer that gall.

When the AC goes out, so does the fan. You can open a window, but that rarely brings down the heat, even at night. Opening a window also allows the humidity to rise. Try sleeping in that!

Sorry, but I am spoiled! I want my danged heat when it's cold, and my AC when it's hot, and the fan when I by-golly want it!

I sympathize, Ma'am, I truly do!

At 12:07 PM, January 19, 2006, Anonymous Sam said...

"But man, without his air conditioning, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish" (Psalm 49:12)

At 12:19 PM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Why don't you use a laptop so the power would never concern you, Neo.

It is part of human nature to take things into granted. So in the greater scheme of things, if you want individuals born from the fire of misery and despair, then instead of making rich people that way, you should try and find those kind of people in places like Iraq. Bring them up right, and they'd be good fighters and allies.

If human nature was different, if we could change people's character and natures as easily as we could fix an electric generator... then we wouldn't need to go out in the rest of the world for what we need. Which is basically challenging situations and character building tests.

Hard to find those in a Western culture.

I remember playing basketball at school and landing on my right ankle at pretty much a 90 degree angle from a jump shot. I do believe I remembered the *Crack* sound that made. I thought to myself, uho that could be bad, right before the pain paralyzed my entire body and mind.

Usually pain is good enough to hit you hard enough to make itself felt but not hard enough to make you nearly unconscious. Probably to give you time to make recompense for mistakes made. But when pain goes crazy and sadistic, then it gets problematic.

The thing was, after a month or two when I thought it had healed up and I could walk without pain, I tried a small jump to look over some obstructions. And boy, did I regret doing that. It seems it hadn't fully healed up yet, and jumping on torn ligaments is not a good idea unless one is a masochist.

Still, it seems to me that if you are cold and your muscles have not been stretched, then jumping up suddenly might indeed pull something in your ankle. Especially as one grows older, and exercise and stretches become more important.

At 6:04 PM, January 24, 2007, Blogger Swampwitch said...

I was "Googling" for the words to 'Mama Said' and up came your blog. I have a blog and am always fascinated when I check the site meter's search words at how people end up at my blog. They never comment, they may not even read. I alway wonder what they think when they end up there. So, I decided just to take a second to let you know, I Googled, I read, I commented. I found it ironic that I was looking for the words to that song just as you were. Thank goodness, my electricity is still on and I didn't hurt my ankle. Of course, the day isn't over yet. My BloggerBooger user name will take you to my old place. If you are ever interested in visting me, my new address is:
Today's post concerns a topic that is important to all of us: mammograms. Hop on over if you have the time. Thanks for the words to the song.


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