• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.


Power Outages Are the New Snow Days

An abrupt flashback.

August 5, 2020

Isaias blew through Tuesday afternoon, knocking down trees and power lines as it went. Right now I’m typing in the dark, using my phone’s hotspot for a connection.

Zoom and various electronic forms of communication make working from home viable, which is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing, obviously, in that we’re able to hunker down while folks work on a vaccine. It’s a curse in that the glorious unplanned break of snow days is largely relegated to the past.

Except when the power goes out. Suddenly, it’s the return of the snow day! An uncommonly warm snow day, but a snow day nonetheless.

Admittedly, I would have preferred if the power had stayed on. But it was nice to be able to step away from the laptop for a bit, without guilt.

Dinner was a challenge. The roads were hazardous, and I don’t know where the power is on. I didn’t want to open the refrigerator or freezer, for fear of losing whatever residual cooling is still there. So I put on my best “suburban dad” thinking cap, fired up the gas grill, put a pot of water on it and made spaghetti, just like the pioneers did.

Or would have, if they had gas grills. Or spaghetti.

The storm at least broke the ridiculous heat wave, so after the storm passed, we were able to open the windows and get some air. And it didn’t get annoyingly dark until about eight, so we at least had some daylight.

As a kid, a snow day was a pure joy. As an adult, snow days caused by actual snow are kind of a pain; doubly so, now that there’s usually no excuse of not being able to work. But a power outage takes me back to the snow days of old, even if at 80 degrees.


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