Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bowing to the Mistress Electricity

It was a dark and stormy night. Lots of boom-boom and whoosh-whoosh in the air. The streets were wind tunnels. While walking back to my car after a movie, a couple was almost blown back into me by a particularly strong gust, prompting the female half of the tandem to wonder if a tornado was on the way. Despite my cheeks occasionally rippling from the onslaught, I thought the gales provided a much needed respite from the oppressive humidity.

The drive home was strewn with downed tree branches and toppled trash cans. Traffic lights were out, leaving motorists to trust each other's judgment at intersections (which I #@$%ing hate, because I know that moron's gonna plow into me the moment I move forward).

None of the houses along the streets in my neighborhood had their porch lights on. The street lamps were out. I knew what was waiting for me at home. But after major clean-out projects during the spring and summer, I had no idea where the flashlights were. And that had to make someone, somewhere laugh. Because the whole point of getting rid of all that junk and clutter was to make everything easier to find.

Sure enough, Casa de Casselberry was without power. The night was spent in darkness. But since I was tired anyway, that wasn't bad. Once I fell over the edge of the couch I couldn't see, i figured I'd just stay there and sleep. With not even a fan to keep me cool. It would be a dark and sticky night.

So here's the deal: My power was out for 19 hours. Not the worst ordeal in the world, despite the helplessness that comes with realizing just how dependent you are on electricity and all the necessities and luxuries it feeds.

But I haven't opened my refrigerator since the power went out. I just did some grocery shopping the day before, and don't want to lose all the grub I bought. How long can food stay good in a refrigerator during a power outage, if it hasn't been opened? Eight hours? 12? 24?

What's that? "Ian, it's just food. Go out and buy some more. It's not worth potential dysentery and messy, violent discharges from both ends of your body."

I hear you there. But I can't really buy some more. Not this week. My self-imposed alloted weekly food budget is in that refrigerator. If I have to toss all that stuff out, I'll be subsisting on dry cereal, raw almonds, and canned tuna for the next week to two weeks.

So is it possible that the food is okay, kept in an airtight container that hasn't been opened for almost 36 hours now (16 of those with proper refrigeration)? There's not much raw meat or dairy in there. I already cooked the ground turkey. Is that still safe? The mayo is some eggless, vegan stuff. Soy milk is, like, soy. Eggs? Turkey bacon? Cheese? Butter? Possible losses. I could live with that, though breakfast wouldn't be so fun.

What has experience taught you? Any help and suggestions would be much appreciated. 'Cuz I'm, like, getting hungry and stuff. And this dry cereal ain't cuttin' it anymore. Papa needs to feed. On turkey burgers, preferably.