Last night we had an epic storm, the kind where the lightning flashes continuously. It poured rain and the lights went flicker, flicker. This is not unusual actually, and the lights usually come back on in a few minutes.
But last night at midnight, the power went OFF. I had almost fallen asleep listening to a Yale lecture on Early Modern England (not that it’s boring, in fact, I recommend it highly.) Now wouldn’t you think that if it’s midnight and you’re half-asleep and the lights go OFF, it makes no difference? Just go to sleep, right?
But NOOOOO, I instantly woke up to deal with…what, exactly? My two student room mates were freaking out; their electronic devices were off and they felt lost and alone. I laughed and told them humans had no lights for almost all of human history. They didn’t care. It was storming, it was midnight and they had seen way too many horror films not to know what happened next. They bolted the doors and looked for some candles to light.
I smiled and took a candle back to my room where I found, unfortunately, that I was wide awake. I heard a little scrabbley sound coming from some papers in the corner…a mouse? Would I have even heard it if the lights weren’t out? Was the darkness increasing the sensitivity of my hearing? What if it was it was a spider? I jumped out of bed, grabbed my candle and went to the living room. Now what? I tried to read a book on Folklore but the candle light was too flickery. I got another candle. My room mate passed by, seeking a flashlight.
“What are you doing?”
“Trying to read by two candlepower.”
For some reason he thought this was hilarious, but candlepower is a real thing, honest, and I had two, so…The lights came back after a few hours at which time I put the Yale lecture back on and was asleep in a few minutes. It’s always darkest when the power goes off at midnight-and I’m not sure why.