While short of the state of emergency declared by our esteemed governor Pat McCrory, yesterday was nevertheless a difficult day due in no small part to an excess of ice and snow. One of the first things the ice and snow did was build up on power lines, which led to the cutoff of our power. Close to all of yesterday we had no power and no Internet. Not a good situation for someone who is trying to get his PhD finished.
Fortunately, there is an oasis nearby. Our next-door neighbor who had helped to wire the nearby engineering buildings informed us of a secret. He had installed backup generators. In addition, the food court always is open on its normal schedule. It has to be, or the nearby college dorms that rely on it might be in trouble. After Alice had an opportunity to eat an apple and a handful of peanuts and drink some water that reduced her body temperature briefly to 73°F, we were off. Unfortunately, now that I’m not officially a graduate research assistant, or perhaps for some other reason, while my student card lets me into my office, it has ceased to let me into the building in which my office resides. I took this with quiet dignity, so quiet and dignified that Alice had to flee briefly from my beatific silence and have another handful of peanuts and two more apples. After taking a moment to be quiet and dignified, I set up as best an office as I could in the food court.
At the food court I set up a mini office with my computer balanced on napkin dispensers. While I investigated my work, Alice finished up her book on the civil war, a handful of peanuts and four more apples. Eventually, when the food court opened at its normal weekend time of 11 o’clock, the asphyxiating smell of bacon forced Alice and me out. I ate a gigantic thick tortilla, inside of which the label insisted there was buffalo chicken hidden somewhere, while I wondered where we would go. Alice ate eight apples and a handful of peanuts. Fortunately, on my second attempt to enter my own building, somebody had mercy on me and let me in. I got to work in my office starting at around 11:30. I even got to use the building’s secret subterranean shower. Alice had another handful of peanuts and 16 more apples and then left early because my office was getting too crowded. On my way home in the evening, she called and reported that the lights had turned back on in our apartment.
At home, Alice and I enjoyed our own real food. Alice informed me that she would not eat another peanut for the rest of the year. Also, she informed me, we were out of apples. When describing what we were thankful for that dinner, Alice and I both said in unison “electricity.”