So last Thursday, I'm watching Grey's Anatomy.
...Wait! It gets better. So I'm watching Grey's and my Dad -- preparing to skip town with my Mom and visit my brother -- tells me that the fence blew down in the backyard. Because that was the worst thing that had happened that night so far. "You're not going to blow off your trip to fix the fence," I say. "The fence??" he says, "Have you looked outside yet?"
You know, for all the shit Buffalo takes about our winters, Octobers is usually quite pleasant. So when a little afternoon hail turns into big sloppy flakes of lake-effect piling up a foot high on the ground, it's kind of disheartening. I took my camera outside to snap some pics to post on the blog, mostly so Aaron Cameron can have the satisfaction of yet another Joe Reid Bitches About the Weather post to tide him over until Thanksgiving. You can't see much in the pics, but that wasn't where the real story was at anyway. The real fun came from standing outside and listening to what sounded like firecrackers being set off all across the neighborhood. That was the sound of tree limbs breaking from the weight of the snow and not-yet-fallen leaves.
Remember that scene in The Blair Witch Project where you can hear the vague clacking and crackling off in the near distance, and the annoying girl is all "Can you hear it? It's all around us..."? That's exactly what it sounded like. It was pretty much the coolest thing I'd ever seen (heard, really) Mother Nature do, and even though the giant and heavy snowflakes were quite literally clogging up my eyes so I couldn't see, I wanted to stay outside and keep listening to the Blair Witch cracking branches all around me. It was amazing...right up until the big branch two doors down broke off and took out a power line on its way down. With a big blue flash of "ZZZZZT!" things got less fun.
The rest of that night was spent under cover of the front porch, listening to dozens upon dozens of branches crackle and fall, watching a few more power lines flash disconcertingly blue, hearing the giant "THUMP" of the big-ass maple in the back yard depositing two giant sections of tree onto the back of the house, and taking our own wild guesses as to how long the power was going to be out for. Through the weekend? God, that would suck. I'm pretty sure the Kahlua was busted out before midnight. Hey, that milk in the fridge was gonna go bad anyway, right?
The snow wound up melting within a day, running off into defenseless basements all over Western New York. Estimates as to how soon the juice would be out for kept getting pushed back. Monday, then Tuesday, then through the next weekend. People on the street bought generators, which hummed obnoxiously all day. I tried to take advantage of as much daylight as I could to read (Bill Carter's Desperate Networks, which flew by), saving up all my Yahtzee-playing and radio-listening for the nighttime. I started waking up with the sun like I lived on a farm. On Friday, I tried to book a hotel room downtown, but the soonest vacancy was Sunday. I took it and liked it.
Ultimately, I couldn't help but feel a little embarassed at how a week without cable or internet was turning me into Jack Torrance in The Shining. Though it did make me feel better to note that I was hardly the only one. It's not like we hadn't been snowed in before. But snowed in with electricity and cable is like a fun vacation. That's when you bust out the DVDs and the Balderdash and the canned soup and have yourself a weekend. Stranded without power just translates to peanut butter sandwiches by candlelight, huddled around a radio. We looked like the Little Women waiting for Papa to come home from the war.
By Monday, I got rescued, swept up into the bosom of Ontario where there were cheeseburgers, and wireless internet, and America's Next Top Model. By Saturday, the Time Warner people came by and made it all better again. Then the Allstate people came by and really made it better again. Then I had to watch Jeffrey win Project Runway, just to make things all ironic and shit.
But anyway: back! Sidebar updated. Bloggyness to come.