Sitting in the light at midnight without electricity
Just finished watching Insomnia. Well, I saw part of it. I fell asleep about half way into it.
Okay, thatâ€™s not true. But itâ€™d be so much funnier if it was. I did watch the whole movie. It was. . . okay. Maybe I just had expectations of it being more of a cat and mouse suspense, and less of the moral implications of a good cop who may or may not have done something that would make him, not so much into a bad cop, but a microscopically less than good cop. Ho hum.
Maybe I was distracted by the storm. Thereâ€™s a very strange storm brewing all night. I was surprised when I saw it drizzling around 7 or so. Then it started pouring down, so much so that when I stuck my head out to put my plants on my deck, I came back in feeling like I had just jumped into the pool with my clothes on. Then the storm stopped. Right?
No. A few hours later, I see some lightning flashes. Then it starts pissing down, even harder than before. Thunder, lightning, power goes out. Iâ€™m not just talking about the power in the house. I mean the power through the whole grid. To me. this is Godâ€™s way of telling me to take a break from the movie and smoke a butt.
Power comes on a few minutes later, and Iâ€™m back to watching the movie.
I get to the good part: bad guy vs. good guy. The showdown. Theyâ€™re in the throes of heated mano a mano combat and-
Power goes out. Iâ€™m back outside. Now, itâ€™s not raining. But the lighting is intimidating. Without looking up, I can tell that a lot of it is flashing overhead, from cloud to cloud. Not infrequently, a bolt comes down so insanely bright it blinds. Like burns out your retinas. Iâ€™m guessing itâ€™s like watching an atomic blast with sunglasses on, itâ€™s that fucking bright. But hereâ€™s the strange part: no rain. Not even much thunder, really. The lightning gets to the point where going back inside seems like more fun.
Iâ€™m in the kitchen trying to light a candle, and I realize a few things. A) This is the first time Iâ€™ve lit a candle in my new apartment. Exciting, isnâ€™t it? B) I really, really, really miss the woods.
Hereâ€™s how I reach conclusion B). There are a few elements to consider. If you havenâ€™t seen it, Insomnia takes place in the middle of nowhere Alaska. Think The Edge (Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin). If you havenâ€™t seen that, think of nowhere Alaska. Itâ€™s breathtakingly gorgeous, even on film. Trees, mountains, rivers, etc. The mountainous part of North Carolina has some similarities. So does New England.
My new apartment is an old house. Wood floors, high ceilings. One candle gets very romantically lost in a place like this. The kitchen is contains wood frames, bordering old Tampa glass windows, overlooking a view of oak trees directly outside. With the power out, it feels like an old house in Alaska, or on the North Carolina coast (sans hurricane, thanks very much). For that very brief moment, itâ€™s very cabin like. Even reaching for the matches in the drawer in the kitchen. I never keep matches in the kitchen. I never even had a junk drawer in a kitchen until I moved here. Matches in junk drawers in kitchens are a staple of a cabin in the woods, not the apartment of a guy who spends most of his time in front of a computer under fluorescent lights, or in front of a mob of people under stage lights. But here they are. And between the candle, and the complete darkness outside, and the storm, and the matches, and the nature, I realize that it has been far, far too long since Iâ€™ve been in the woods. I miss New England, what very little of it I ever knew.
Itâ€™s kind of like when I was camping in the UK. It seems like a year ago, but it was only April. Something about being in the middle of fuck all nowhere is at once liberating and agoraphobic. Perhaps thatâ€™s what agoraphobic comes from: the innate realization that you are so free of anything around you, that it scares the hell out of you.
But I digress. I guess where Iâ€™m going is: there is something inherent in me that seeks the solace of that kind of environment. Iâ€™m not looking at pulling a Thoreau (though it would be currently tempting if I had the option.) Itâ€™s so strange how foreign everything becomes when all electricity instantly ceases around you. Once you are thrown into a situation so unusual, yet so natural, a maelstrom of memories and associations flood in, like smells, or seasons. There is something so drastically wonderful about resorting to candles, and. . . thought. No music, no lights, no appliances, no TV, no noise – nothing. Just you, some wax and matches, and thoughts. And a pack of butts. Somehow this is important, too.