By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL/Designated Writers

Saturday at 7:13 p.m., a man I’ve never met changed my life. (To be honest, I had waved to him twice, if that counts for something.)

That man did me the ultimate solid — he flicked some switch or connected some wire or something even more complicated than that — and gave me what I hadn’t had in 57 hours.


In my home-owning lifetime, I’ve had two severe bouts with electricity. I was 0-for-6 days during that ice storm in the early 2000s, but this one was at the other end of the thermometer spectrum.

Day One was relatively easy. It wasn’t too hot outside, the fridge was still semi-operable and most of my clothes were clean.

Day Two wasn’t. None of those applied anymore and I foolishly thought I could make it through the night and sleep in my own bed. It’s amazing all of the things you hear when you are trying to go to sleep and don’t have power. The main thing is the sound of the people in your neighborhood who have generators. That isn’t exactly Brahm’s Lullaby.

But Day Three dawned and there were utility trucks in the neighborhood! And when I saw the guy around the corner with the bucket lift lined up to send that sweet electrical current my way, I gave him the courtesy wave as I drove by. I waited breathlessly at home. And waited. And waited.

So I drove back around the corner and he was gone. It’s like Bia, the Greek god of “electricity,” had played a cruel joke on me. I went home, turned on my porch light switch and literally drove around in the air-conditioned car (that’s an important adjective for a man without electricity.) I know exactly how sad this sounds, but it’s true — I would come back by my house every 15 or 20 minutes to see if my porch lights were on. If not, I kept driving another loop.

This went on for hours until I realized I was getting more depressed with every failed pass by my house. But as I drove home for the last time, Bucket Truck Man was back in place. Could it be?! !? I gave him another courtesy wave and headed up my driveway.

Ten minutes later, I was back in business!

There’s nothing like a power outage to point out just how stupid you are (as if the above illustration hadn’t already proved it.) I must have turned 20 light switches on during these three days. I got the electric blower out to clean off my driveway. How’d that work out? I had my iPad fully charged in preparation for Hurricane Laura; lot of good that did me.

It’s amazing how much better your life gets in one electricity-filled second. Especially after 57 hours.