07 August 2011

Lightning, Lightning--Very, Very Frightening

Last night, the relatives and I were channel-surfing before we finally landed on a PBS documentary about Soviet Russia in World War II. Those of you who know me well know that I have an unhealthy fascination with all things Russian and anything remotely related to World War II, so I was pretty stoked. And this documentary was a nerd's dream come true. The re-enactment scenes were all in Russian, German, or Polish, and the actors actually looked like the historical figures they were playing. Stalin looked like Stalin! Little nerdy Zella was so happy that, instead of getting on the internet last night as she always does, she decided to stay up until the wee hours of the morning--or however long it would be on--watching the documentary.

The rest of the family slowly trickled off to bed, leaving just me, my trusty Chihuahua, and my grandmother to watch the documentary. Outside, a thunderstorm raged, but it was the first rain we've had since late June, so it could storm as much as it wanted. I know a reasonably safety-minded person would, you know, turn off the TV during a storm, but it wasn't a raging storm and--darn it--I wanted to watch my documentary about Soviet Russia. *glares at any naysayers*

At about 10:25 pm, right as I was riveted by the discussion of Stalin's uneasy alliance with the Polish government in exile, a dramatic clap of thunder and a brief flash of lightning accompanied a seconds-long power outage. I know a reasonably safety-minded person would have given up and gone to bed, but the power was only out a couple of seconds and--darn it!--I was watching my Soviet documentary.

Around 10:37 pm, just as the documentary began to delve into American aid to the U.S.S.R. during the war, a second clap of thunder accompanied a power outage. I didn't see the lightning bolt that was responsible. I waited for the power to inevitably turn back on--just as it had ten minutes earlier. I mean, it came on before. The TV did not explode in the process--obviously the power is just out. Why wasn't it coming back on?

Alas, as I sat in pitch-darkness, anxiously awaiting the TV to magically power back on, I realized that it wasn't coming back on, and I wasn't getting on the computer, either. As I had sat on the couch delusionally expecting that my documentary would reappear at any moment, my far more practical grandmother had already acquired a flashlight, which she handed to me. I shined the light around to locate my darling Chihuahua and saw him huddled up in a corner with an extraordinarily lugubrious look of self-pity on his face. His eyes were wide and pleading, his ears askew atop his dainty head. He hates storms; oh, how he hates them. He had been sitting with me, but I guess after the power went out, he jumped down on the floor in a temporary fit of lightning-induced fright. I balanced him alongside the flashlight in my arms, reassured him that he was okay, and headed off to bed.

By the time I picked my way to my room, I noticed that Mr. Chihuahua was no longer frightened but was extraordinarily pissed off. I could tell because now his eyes were sullen, his lips were pursed in a disdainful grimace, and his ears were pinned back. It does not pay to irk Mr. Chihuahua--as sweet as he is, I have learned in the past ten years of owning him that his feelings are not to be trifled with. And I had trifled with them big time.

Horrible Chihuahua owner that I am, I had forgotten his bone. He has developed a liking for peanut-flavored bones that borders on addiction, and there were none in my room. How thoughtless of me! Never mind that in the pitch-blackness he couldn't even see to eat the bone. It's our nightly tradition for me to tuck him in with a bone--or two--and he would not go to sleep until he got a bone.

I trekked back to the living room, was successful in my bone hunt, and returned to my room. By this point, Mr. Chihuahua was overwhelmed with joy. He had his bone, and that was all that mattered. He danced around on my bed and wagged his tail as a show of gratitude, then snatched said bone out of my hand and perched on the foot of the bed, his usual resting place.

I tried to fall asleep, but--as someone who routinely goes to bed at 1 am--I was not the slightest bit tired. I would have read, but the only source of light was my grandma's flashlight. I thought it would be slightly ungrateful of me to run out the battery reading. Instead, I tried to sleep as my mind wandered to topics that ranged from my upcoming college semester to true crime to Russian history to how I'm going to arrange stuff in my dorm room this semester to my Chihuahua's frantic mulling around as he tried to sleep. Apparently, the insomnia is contagious.

Suddenly, a faint noise intruded upon my restless mind. It sounded like--yes--I think the electricity came back. Thank you, God! Let there be light! I turned on the lamp beside my bed, expecting to see the faint, warm glow of the lamp's lowest setting. Instead, I saw darkness. Lots and lots of darkness. Fine. I suppose the power didn't come back on. My ninja senses were fooled. . . . The lamp has three light settings, so I turned the knob a couple of more times to turn the lamp off, in the event the power ever came back on.

I tried to sleep again, only to have my mind invaded by more thoughts: Chinese food, the documentary I had watched, stuff I need to remember for work on Monday, *cough* what to blog about this week *cough*, stuff I need to remember when I go back to work at my other job this weekend. Slowly, sleep started to overtake me. It snuck up on me just as I was formulating a blog post, and it gently lulled me into a pleasant slumber. Oh, sleep, how I love you! The rain continued to patter outside and lightning continued to flash occasionally outside my window, but I was just on the cusp of sleep, and I could not care less.

Just as I dozed off, a bright light flashed before my eyes. I jumped awake--staring around my room for the creepy person who was shining a flashlight in my face. Come out, come out wherever you are, bearer of the flashlight! Instead, I saw my Chihuahua staring at me from the foot of the bed. Wait! I could see my Chihuahua! I couldn't see unless there was light. There wouldn't be light unless the power was back on! At this point, I turned to my side and noticed my lamp, on its highest setting.

Hmm . . . I must not be smart enough to guess how many times I have to turn the knob before I turn the lamp off. I eventually drifted off to sleep . . . about 1 am, as usual.