Sorry about missing “Take it from Snee” last week. If you were busy watching those crazy British kids getting married or the end of the “Do you remember where you were on 9/11?”-era, then you may not have noticed that Alabama was trying to kill me. (Did you see what I did there, McBournie?)
Believe it or not, this is actually my second draft of this post. I tried to live blog the tornado warnings that, in Alabama, come with World War II-edition sirens. These interrupted me so often that by the time I worked a game out of it, the power shut off and was not restored to my neighborhood until last night.
For six nights–which is how you count blackouts because daylight isn’t blacked out–I lived a preview of our future dystopian nightmare. I survived and bring you the following findings.
The National Weather Service and Comcast understand that Alabama is trying to kill me and fear for my immortal soul.
If you are watching Comcast cable, even Tivo DVR’d softcore pornography (because it’s not an adventure without Emmanuelle), the National Weather Service will interrupt it whenever they issue weather alerts. The alerts are great because they’ve been using the same system since the 1980s, and the graphics still look like they were built on an Apple IIc. I’m guessing that, while it appears on my 1080i screen in Very Advanced Scrolling Technology, there are pages of those green and white tractor-fed pages printing in landscape all over their office.
Anyway. After about 10 minutes of not being able to see the actual news and weather maps because Joshua has hijacked my cable box, the cable will appear to cut back in, but the shanghai-ing continues as it remains frozen on Channel 3 Cable Access. And Cable Access in Alabama means 24/7 access to the craziest Baptist ministers that can’t afford mall space.
So, the last thing I hear before I can return to Sponge Bob is some End of Days evangelist praying that the government stops adding mind control chemicals to charcoal.
There is an animal inside us all.
Within 5 minutes of the first tornado siren (or six hours since I had last shaved), I had sprouted the beginnings of what would become my Blackout Beard. I called it this because I kept it until the power came on … and because it looked decent enough without any lights on. This is what writers do when we’re bored: watch hair grow and invent s#$tty double meanings. In fact, this was the entire origin of the Romantic period of literature.
I took cold showers every day like our ancient beachcombing ancestors before enough people complained to the Long Beach authorities that nobody washed the sand off their feet before getting on the bus.
I even started wearing a knife that could also open my snobby beer bottles and assemble a new grill. That’s right: I went full Swiss tribal. By the end of the week, I was unreasonably afraid of apples, harm befalling the Pope and minarets.
Nobody in Alabama keeps their gas tank reasonably full.
By Friday, a few gas stations were able to bring their pumps back online with generators. And that was when everyone lined up for hours just to top off and fill little gallon jugs.
Not to brag, but you know how much I filled up this past week? Not at all because I fill my tank whenever I get gas. You know, so–if I feel like it–I can drive to the next state or–in everyone else’s case, to the store–without stopping.
Fuel demand was so great that people siphoned gas out of other people’s cars. Seriously. Somebody sucked off a PT Cruiser for gas. I think that calls for a medical term, and I want to call it Mad Max Disease.
Electricity killed neighborhoods.
I got to know my neighbors this week. You and my-one-week-ago-self know these people as those strange humans that I suspect of stealing my mail.
It turns out that had either of us gone outside, we might have actually talked to each other instead of pretending Jon Stewart or Glenn Beck are the only ones who understand us. (Although, it really is Glenn’s world and we’re all just CIA robots that are after his gold.)
We swapped stories, set fires and got a 15-year-old so drunk on a single shot of whiskey that he declared Nick Saban one of the greatest unrecognized geniuses of the 21st Century. At that point, he was recognized as an Alabaman man.
Basically, if you turn off the lights, society reverts back to high school, only this time it didn’t include a handjob in the woods.