Pride goeth before a fall. The next morning, I was working in the back of the house, when my neighbor rapped on my door. "Have you seen what's happening out here?" I was oblivious. A truck carrying a high crane had snagged the overhead power lines, and brought down pole, trees, vines, deer fence--and electricity, Internet access, cable and phone.
Of course it took a couple of days to clear up the mess--and as these things go, we were all very lucky. No one was hurt; there was no fire. But I learned a few important things. First, I have become addicted to Internet access. I won't quite go so far as to say that it is a lifeline, but it is the way I stay connected to friends and family. Email is the best way to reach me; cell phone reception out here is unreliable. I am going to have to train myself to go without Internet from time to time, just to break the habit of constantly checking to see if I am needed, loved, or wanted. I put my computer to sleep so that it can be refreshed; I recharge my phone. I am going to have to unplug myself. Second, I learned that I love keeping this blog, and feel deprived if I can't get online and check comments, and add more thoughts. Readers of Slow Love Life have taken the place of colleagues in an office; I love the community we have created, and take strength and inspiration from it, just the way I did from my pals at House and Garden.
After a long day of phone calls to various agencies, and fretting about the six deadlines hanging over my head, I went to my sister's house to get online and see if there were any emergencies waiting in my email. I joined her, in her bedroom, at the large table she uses as a desk; she plugged me in to her power strip, and we sat companionably side by side, working. For about five minutes. Then Nicole began to show me her travel plans for the trip she is planning to Spain; then she began to scroll through digital albums to show me old photographs of the children--do you have this one? I'm sure you don't have that one!; then I noticed a dress I had been missing--right there! in the picture of Elodie, dancing! she's wearing it! where is it? what did she do with it? Then we had to spend an hour parsing through a scandal that erupted after a dinner party she recently threw, the sort of thing that happens in 18th century English novels about small, quiet towns beneath whose placid surfaces is a simmering (and highly entertaining) cauldron of envy, rudeness and petty cruelty.
Before we knew it, the sun was setting, and I had to get home to receive the National Grid people, who decided the job was too big for that night anyway. But as I thought about sitting with my sister, I had a vivid memory of being a six year old, in first grade, seriously, earnestly, parked at my "desk" after school, practicing my letters, with my little Nicole, not yet five, prancing about, trying to distract me and get me to play with her. That was the beginning of my "nose in a book" days--Nicole swears that she spent her entire childhood trying to distract me from whatever I was reading. That memory of our nascent habits startled me, and thrilled me too; how lovely that it was so close to hand. And how lucky am I to have a sister who still wants to play with me. Nicole is her own power source.
I got home to find myself the new owner of a very ugly phone pole. Turns out there is a new regulation height, ten feet taller than the old one. It is doubtful that any truck will snag these high lines. But should this pole ever come down in a strong gale, it will reach my house. Is this really safer? Go figure. But at least I'm up and running.
Labels: intertidal years