Apres Le deluge
November 2, 2012 § Leave a comment
The city is very quiet. The occasional siren, young people partying in the hall. I miss our old neighbors, how the 12th floor used to have a college dorm feeling. It was a period that seemed to go on forever—the parties, John with the bird on his shoulder, Annie leaving me dinner outside my door if I felt unsocial. Now most people have moved away and John’s dead—murdered.
I tried to go to sleep when the power went, but just lay there worrying about 6,000 things. I miss my nights in the country with a full moon and the stream rushing and a house I knew so intimately I could walk through it at night without lights and know where I was by smell…pine planks, upholstery, cooking smells, cold glass. The insects for company—you have to spend weeks alone in the country before you realize that, in the summer, insects are truly with us, their lives thick and everywhere. Birth, mating, death.
Once, alone in the country years ago, I was flirting on the Internet while the insects were all around, noisy, coming through the mesh of the window screens and under the doors, and I realized as I exchanged absurd, hormone-fueled conversations with strangers how alike we were, me and the bugs—life narrow-focused to the beam of desire, vastly ignorant.
After going up and down 12 flight several times yesterday, and twice today, my legs are screaming. The animals say: try the cat’s life. Shit in a box, eat canned food, never go out, read, watch TV, talk on the phone or surf online. What are you complaining about, puny human?
Nothing. I can read, even at night, thanks to the ipad. I have hundreds of real books but the ipad has a lit screen and I can read for hours in the dark. And so far my laptop battery has lasted. I should get it charged today. Or rather, I should send the husband out and uptown to charge the devices. (The stairs don’t bother him. At 70, he’s amazingly fit.) But so far, he hasn’t wanted to go. He likes it here in the dead zone. He says it’s quiet and he doesn’t have to worry about me telling him to put whatever he’s been eating back in the fridge.
Staying with a friend above the darkness. Able to access the political world again, as well as all the news accounts about Sandy. Such horrific damage—children killed, homes destroyed. I’ll have power at home tomorrow (they say), but other places won’t have it for a week or more. Everyone is worried about how it will affect the election. If Sandy tips the election to Romney through the agency of chaos, I submit that we consider naming next year’s hurricane Willard.
I’m afraid this is just the beginning. We need a president who gets that. It won’t take too many years before those who consider themselves rugged, independent Americans-—the sort who don’t need government—will find out that all their guns are useless unless they’ve stockpiled a garage full of ammunition and are willing to shoot and eat their neighbors.
But Men Love Darkness Rather Than Light
The world’s light shines, shine as it will,
The world will love its darkness still.
I doubt though when the world’s in hell,
It will not love its darkness half so well.
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