Last week was a long week. That is what I tell everyone who asks about the outage I experienced in casual conversation. I’m generally a laid back guy, but even I was struggling with anger that I desperately wanted to direct at someone. ”This has to be someone’s fault. Other people have power, why don’t I”, and other statements either raced through my head or hissed between my teeth.
I will attempt to explain to you the 5 stages one goes through when without power for nearly 168 hours.
- Stage 1: Excitement: This is that stage where you are having fun breaking out candles, flashlights, and blankets. ”We’re roughing it!” you say. You are totally fucking clueless at this stage.
- Stage 2: What Now: It’s been more than 24 hours now, and life outside of your power-less street keeps right on’ a rollin’. It’s becoming clear you somehow need to still do things like go to work, feed and bathe yourself, wash clothes. Things that hinge on power. Annoyance is setting in.
- Stage 3: I’m Tired: Going on 48+ hours now. Any quaintness you appreciated about your new lifestyle has dried up. It has been replaced with exhaustion. You’ve thrown away everything in your fridge but you still gag from the smell when you open it. You eat at diners or anywhere that has power and is open. Soon your skin smells like deep-frying-diner oil. You feel fucking gross. All. The. Time.
- Stage 4: Vagrancy: Like a moth, you move to where there is light: malls, hotels, anywhere civilization still clings. When you have access to the internet at cafes or restaurants you look up YouTube videos of other people playing video games. Maybe you can escape the cold and the dark…
- Stage 5: Hollow: No, you can’t escape it. You charge your phone and laptop at work. They know you at the diner down the street. You wake up and put on as many layers as you can, often the same as you did yesterday. Sometimes, you just stare. At nothing. You don’t know what do with yourself and you anger easily. You are convinced that this is how you will die.
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up: the 5 stages of a week without electricity, heat, or hot water. To make this post a little happier, I will explain the stages you go through once power returns:
- Stage 1: ELATION: The man who smokes cigarettes outside the apartment complex told me the power came back. I never wanted to kiss another man on the mouth so hard in my life.
- Stage 2: THE THINGS ARE BACK: Hot water! I can wash my hands without turning them to icicles! I can go to the bathroom without a flashlight! I can take a shower! I can wash clothes! I can cook my own food!
- Stage 3: Rebuilding: Everything is back where it belongs, you’ve taken a shower and vacuumed — hell the apartment looks better than it did before. Time to crawl back into your routine with a new found appreciation for damn near everything.
So there you have it. That is the extremely truncated cycle of what I went through. I hope you never have to do the same, because… it was a long week.