Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hurricane Log, Day 3, and Achenquotes

I didn't set the alarm this morning. Woke up at 3 a.m. and listened to the news. They said that out of a million powerless customers in Broward, Florida Power & Light has restored service to 6,500 so far. At this rate, we should have electricity by Christmas.

Who needs it, anyway. I hiked down to the pay phone at 7, when the curfew lifted. The resort hotline is still saying that employees should report to work, but my department wasn't issuing any information, so I called the main number and they said the hotel still doesn't have power, so there's no point in going in.

At 8:00 I made a trip to the grocery store. Publix is running on generators, so no perishable food or ice, but otherwise they were relatively well-stocked and the lines were no longer than usual. I bought canned goods and cookies and jello. Also cereal and soy milk, we'll see how that goes...

I was home by 9, with a great plan: now I have time to make that solar cooker I saw the plans for on the internet! That took about an hour, then I did some laundry and hung it up in my backyard "solar clothes dryer." Then lunch, then I took my bike back down to the phone to call Artist Alice and let her know her parents survived the hurricane (she probably hasn't been giving it much thought.)

When I got back, I checked the cooker--I had just put some water in to heat, to see how it works. It had been in about 2 hours. I took off the plexiglass cover and tried to take the lid off the pot, but it was too hot to life off without a potholder. That's encouraging. Right now, we don't actually have anything to cook, but at least we can heat water for bathing purposes. Meanwhile, I have my dinner (a can of Campbell's soup) on the dashboard of my car. It will get pretty darn warm there.
This is much easier than camping, since we have comfortable chairs and a bed and running water and walls and a roof. It is abundantly clear to me after two days that what all the timesaving appliances do for us is give women time to have jobs. If I have no job to go to, I have time to do things manually.

Even doing laundry by hand and riding my bike to the store and so on, I had time to read It Looks Like a President, Only Smaller (by Joel Achenbach) from intro to acknowledgments [do I need to mention it's not the first or second time I've read the book?] Here is my favorite paragraph:

Horse-drawn buggies roll down the sides of the country roads, but some are filled with tourists who have paid money to act like an Amish person for an hour. Someday it will be this exploitation of the authentic that is itself the great marvel and attraction that will draw tourists from far away. People will want to see these strange entrepreneurs who sell overpriced mass-produced crafts in someone else's historic village. They'll want to imagine what it would be like to operate a tourist attraction. They'll pay thirty bucks a pop to get into a theme park called Commercialization World. (p. 111)

Here are a couple more selected examples of excellence:

I'm all in favor of denial as a psychological tactic for getting through the day. The last thing you'd ever want is a clear view of the world and your place within it. No one can stand that kind of pain. (p. 42)

There's not much that's democratic about the Democratic National Convention. It appears that the priority for party leaders this week is to hobnob with Hollywood moguls and movie stars. There is a dazzling array of parties to which you, the ordinary person, are specifically not invited. Some parties, like David Geffen's or Barbra Streisand's, are so exclusive you have to be on a special list even to be allowed to think about them. Forget I brought it up. (p. 71)

And here's something Achenbach wrote more than five years before the invention of the Achenblog:

"When online writing is effective, it creates the sense of being at a dinner party with a lot of smart, loud, opinionated people who are still several drinks away from being completely soused."

[the kit & kaboodle, in a nutshell!]

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