It seems to me that a brief power outage should not be something that disturbs my sleep. After all, appliances and devices that rely on electricity should just quietly cease to function when their power source is interrupted, and then resume their normal functioning in an equally quiet manner, but not so.
For reasons known only to our power company, a few nights ago I was awakened by a strange sound, and quickly discovered it was our answering machine resetting itself and our, “Please leave your name and number…” message blaring throughout the downstairs. Simultaneously, my husband sleepily asked, “What was that?” In another part of the house the fax machine beeped loudly as the power went off and then it began noisily spitting out a status report as the power came back on. It dutifully printed the time of the power failure and other pertinent information that is of no use or interest to me at 3 a. m. Meanwhile the computer was also acting up as the power flickered off and on.
By this point our 11-year-old, who is a light sleeper anyway, was jumping up and down excitedly in the hallway asking, “Mom, would this be a good time to get out my glowstick and do some exploring?”
The only one who was not disturbed by these goings-on was our teenager, who could only be awakened by alien invasion, and then only long enough to have a quick look at our captors and utter “cool,” before covering up his head once more. He snored on contentedly, having already made his contribution to home emergency preparedness some weeks earlier by losing the flashlight.
For several minutes we stumbled about the house in the dark, tripping over the cat, before we finally located a candle and matches. Just as we determined that all the alarm clocks did indeed have backup battery power and that we were in no danger of sleeping in, the electricity came back on to stay and we collapsed into bed.
As if the short night itself wasn’t annoying enough, in the morning I was faced with the “electronic cleanup.” The clocks on the microwave, VCR and all the radios in the house were flashing 12:00 at me and had to be reset. Of course this was not accomplished without first locating and consulting the appropriate instruction manuals. When I had finally finished this task, I added flashlight, extra batteries and wind-up alarm clock to my shopping list.
Ah yes, the age of technology. So much convenience, so little sleep.
Lois Gordon writes from Sherwood Park, Alberta