It was maybe 10 a.m. on Dec. 31, when Paula and I headed out for breakfast. There was a break in the biggest storm of the season, and when we got to the corner, the eucalyptus trees had dropped a fair amount of debris all over the road. At the Stop sign I told Paula that these huge Eucalyptus trees were starting to scare me and one of these days, one might come over.
A few hours later we came home, we learned that today was the day. The biggest had come over, blocking the usual route home. A car had been in motion, just about where we had been, and the tree grazed his roof and the driver had been sent to The hospital for stitches. We drove around the other way to get home, chatting about good luck and good timing.
When we got home, another neighbor told us the tree had taken down a utility pole. Our house would probably be without electricity, and ComCast cable overnight, meaning that as we entered New Year's Eve, we would be without electricity, which in our home, meant no stove, no coffee, no hot water, no heat, no TV, no music. It took a few minutes later to realize that this also meant no landline phones, and our cells never work inside our homes.Then it finally hit me that this also meant no Internet, email and oh lawdy, oh no--no blogosphere.
We had planned a quiet New year's at home anyway. But this was going to be quieter than we had expected. A lot quieter. I decided to build a fire, but the firewood was in our garage and we had an electric opener. I long ago had lost the bypass key. No nothing. I raced to the market getting there just before it closed and cornered the open market on Firewood in a Box.
We took in an early movie of Brokeback Mountain, then celebrated New Year's dinner at our local Chinese Restaurant then came home to a dark cold house. It was a little past 8:30. I built a huge fire. Paula wrapped a blanked around her and sat by the fire reading a book illuminated with a flashlight. I laid down on the Red Couch and crapped out, falling soundly asleep by 10 pm. We have no idea what time it was when we crawled into bed cuddling with each other as well as the dog and the cat. We muttered something about Happy New Year before crashing out until 3 a.m. when every light in the house came on as well as the heat, and refrigerator motor.
Like, a great many people, I like to look at the year end/year beginning as a milestone, looking at what has occurred in the past year and guessing about what is to come. I'm a sucker for symbolism and here, we had just transitioned from '05 into '06 in utter darkness, cut off from so many of the niceties of the current and past centuries. As many of you know, I had three pretty rough years before 2005, which was so great in so many ways. In a few days, or weeks at the most, the first money will be exchanged for Naked Conversations, and my future as either a successful writer-or just another writer--will be pretty much determined. It's an issue that has been pretty much central to my thought, energy and focus for a very long time.
So what symbolism did I see in starting this year in darkness? Does t mean I have a bleak future? Will there be an abyss at the end of The Naked Conversations tunnel?
Not at all. The dark start reminded me that there are bigger and more important things in the world than the book. That the success or failure of this endeavor didn't amount to a hill of beans Paula and I really spent a pretty cozy night together. If there was any suffering it was because we ate Chinese and drank beer, when we would have preferred Paula's roasted chicken with a nice bottle of champagne.
This is the virtual anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami a half world away, that killed 250,000 and caused millions to suffer. Not getting broadband for 13 hours just doesn't seem that significant. The success or failure of Naked Conversations in 2006 will not be a significant event on the face of the planet. It won't even be the most significant even in life with Paula or Robert's with Maryam.
Happy New Year, everyone.May you be safe and healthy throughout 2006. And let us be grateful that where we all live or lives--the lights come back up in pretty short time.