We were muddling along here. We made it through the Passover cleaning and Passover prep, two seders and four of the eight days of Passover and I was feeling pretty smug about things, which is usually when it all goes to shit around here. (In hindsight, the smugness was probably matza constipation — I was just all bloat.)
And then we woke up to what felt like a hurricane this morning. Ok, so we’d spend the day inside. No walks, no kicking a ball around outside, whatever. It wasn’t like the girls were fighting. It wasn’t like they were tearing each other’s hair out. It wasn’t like they’d been fighting for about six weeks straight. It wasn’t like rain was lashing against the house and there was nowhere I could go to escape the sounds of high pitch shrieking. It wasn’t like someone had started biting. Again.
You see where I’m going here.
And then the power went out. I was cleaning up from breakfast, which feels a lot like cleaning up from lunch, which is almost identical to cleaning up from dinner because it involves me alone in the kitchen after everyone has scampered off like a guilty rodent. I stuck my head outside, looked up the downpour and said, DAYENU. Take away all our friends and family. Terrify us. Cancel school. Cancel basketball. Cancel everything except for laundry. (I mean, really – you couldn’t just cancel the effing laundry?) Make us dependent on grocery delivery which is intermittent, unreliable, and no, I do not want your shitty toilet paper substitution or 200 turnips. Have us start dressing like bank robbers if we need to leave the house. Keep terrifying us. But really, you’re going to ask me to shelter in place with my kids in a blackout? It’s pouring outside and nobody is allowed to take us in, and really, who would have us anyway at this point because I’m pretty sure we’re like those pet rabbits that have been ignored, whose teeth grow over their mouths and who turn wild and feral and suddenly they’re not cute bunnies anymore. It’s been six weeks. I think. We are no longer cute bunnies. We are de-socialized and feral and now I have to drag out the candles and go all Laura Ingalls, and not in the good way — because do I love me a prairie dress.
I tried not to think about the meat in the freezer. I tried even harder not to think about the hospitals in the Bronx which had people on machines and hoped that this was not widespread and that generators were working for people who needed them.
But what I was really thinking was — dayenu. Enough already. We obviously are suffering nowhere near as much as so many around us, but that is cold comfort when you are pulling children off of each other, icing bite wounds and making a meal in the dark and suddenly everyone wants to open the fridge even though you keep screaming DO NOT OPEN THE FRIDGE.
My 18 year old, came down, looked at the candle-lit lunch offerings and I momentarily worried he’d eat my 9 year old because he was never going to be full on quinoa and what was left of the fish. The floor is filthy. My feet are cold. It is still raining.
(The one perk of no power is no Zoom b/c we are preserving battery life and all of that and apparently I’m unable to use my inside voice on Zoom. M has taken to following me around the house shushing me. “You sound like my grandmother,” he said. “You don’t need to yell.”
Really? You’re going to invoke your grandmother while I’m on Zoom, already traumatized by the sight of my face plus ten years?
“Listen, buddy,” I said to him. “I’m not gonna lie. I have no idea how this Zoom thing actually works, but I do know this. If I don’t yell the loudest, my zoom square will never light up.”
At this point M opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. I’m assuming this was because I had trumped him with my knowledge of the inner workings of Zoom.)
But at some point Zoom will be up and running again — and the lights have just flickered which means we will also soon have heat and maybe all the meat has not gone off. During a brief light flicker, I walked past a mirror and I caught a glimpse of myself. I’d allowed one of the girls to do my makeup in the first hour of the blackout and I look like a cross between RuPaul and Baby Jane.
Maybe the lights need to go out again.