Sunday evening, the electricity went out throughout the city and the northern part of the state. Just at dusk, when you don’t notice for the first few minutes. I walked to the corner to ascertain it was at least the neighborhood and not the house. I immediately met new neighbors a few houses down, a young couple and a toddler.
“What’s the cutie’s name?” I asked.
They told me their names, which I promptly forgot.
Then Rich went out walking, but came back soon. Lightning forked the sky, no rain. We sat in the backyard admiring the string of decorative multicolored solar lights. We had three candles in the kitchen window. Stars playing hide and go seek with clouds.
An hour or so later when the lights came back on the neighbors set off firecrackers, usually reserved for a festive occasion such as the Red Sox winning the World Series or Obama becoming president. Santa Fe’s West Side neighborhood is firmly Democratic Party and no fan of the Yankees.
Thirty-five years ago, my first husband Robert and I were blacked out in our railway flat of an apartment on Rose Alley in San Francisco. It was late afternoon in winter, dark and foggy. We got into bed (our futon on the floor)and read by flashlight while watching the cat try to crawl into a paper bag. Around supper time the phone rang, our friend Thomas wondering if we wanted to go out for dinner.
Well, no, we said, it’s blacked-out. He laughed and told us—the power came on two hours ago, look outside. We did. Behind our alley, the entire city of San Francisco was lit up. We’d just been too engrossed to notice.