Somewhere inside the distance fog of approaching dawn today, I reckoned an incessant beep-beep-beep that slowly revealed itself to be the house alarm. The system panel indicated the front room window on the north side of the house was left open, rendering the system unready for arming.
The day before, I had released the screen on this window in attempt to release a trapped bumble bee caught between the panes; apparently, I’d failed to reestablish the seal of the window and forgot to arm the system. Despite replacing the screen and the pane and the contacts to appease the beep-beep-beep, my efforts this early morning were refuted by the system. To minimize my growing frustration and confusion, I decided coffee was the next order of need, but that effort was quickly foiled when the coffee bean grinder would not respond to my pressure either.
With the opening of the fridge revealing a dark interior within, I awakened fully to realize the power was out. With only my handheld cell phone, I learned that I was one of two houses in the entire community of Pointe Claire, Quebec (and 1 of 313 in the larger vicinity) that was under a scheduled HydroQuebec power outage.
What made me so special this day? Why was I singled out to be so inconvenienced on this pleasantly sunny and bright summer morning (albeit without fresh coffee) on the West Island of Montreal? I pushed aside my disappointment of not being able to abide by my original intentions of the day: coffee, yoga, meditation, shower, work …..a walk, lunch, dash to the market ….. finish contract, wine-down ….
With no coffee to be drunk, my yoga was at risk, with no wifi available, my work was at risk, with no work on this horizon ……my entire day suddenly became one of two things: 1. ruined, or 2. under renovation. As a wash of anxiety rushed over me, I contemplated how pathetic our existence is with a full reliance on electricity and phantom services that don’t care to inform us of their intentions and mess with our balance and successes.
I renovated my agenda: I confirmed that HydroQuebec knew of my condition (they apparently planned this attack) and promised to rectify the loss of power, then I tucked my wee dog into his carry pouch and heading out to the streets of Pointe-Claire for what turned out to be a too-long morning stroll and to learn the rest of my world woke in their normal way: with electricity.
When I returned nearly two hours later, with sore legs, an antsy dog in a pouch and a growing hunger of my own, the HydroQuebec truck was fading into the distance perspective of my street. I resumed the bean grinding, ensured the wifi was intact and recalculated my day.
As I write this, the evening is unfolding around me: the EU is on the verge of learning the Brexit results, a raccoon is scavenging in the backyard, a cardinal is picking up the cashews I dropped on the deck outside and the traffic on the freeway within earshot is a reminder that tomorrow is St Jean Baptiste Day here in Quebec as everyone rushes home at the end of a work day. I can honestly say I do not know what that it means to a Western Canadian to celebrate this “national” holiday of which I have neither heard of nor celebrated.
It’s now safe to say that by dawn tomorrow, if the power is still intact and the alarm panel is placated, and the coffee beans are grindable, tomorrow’s agenda could render a totally unscripted array of unexpectations?