Posted by: fireweaver | June 5, 2008

civilization & how it runs

i had to jet out of work yesterday afternoon to make a 2 o’clock dentist appointment.  in the hurry to disentangle myself from my colleagues (“oh, i need to just ask you a couple quick questions, about 5 minutes or so!”), i managed to leave behind my big tea jug.  which meant only the 2-cup thermos for today, which is sad.  american civilization tends to run on coffee (no thanks) in the office, so if i don’t bring my own tasty fresh tea in daily…sigh.

and that dentist appointment was a doozy: i needed a crown replaced over a root canal’d tooth, which necessitates drilling off the old one, making a hardening mold of your teeth with a foul-tasting gelatinous goo, sending off said mold to the faux-tooth-makers, and meanwhile having a temporary fake tooth glued over your wee peg stump.  halfway through this ordeal, all the hygenists in the office start flurrying about, marveling at the gathering storm darkness outside.  the power briefly browns down for a second, and the hygenist finishing up that mold on my tooth tells me all about how, though they’ve asked for it time and again from the building manager, that whole professionals’ office building doesn’t have a backup generator.  and since my life is generally more of a comedy of errors sort of movie than anything else, i couldn’t have scripted the next bit better myself.  right after she tells me the sorry state of generators in the office, temp fake tooth in one hand and adhesive in the other, the power blacks out entirely.  “oh, shit.”  definitely requiring the fake tooth as opposed to the raw little peggy stump up there, i tell her to grab my handbag so i can shine the little cell phone light in my mouth for her to finish.  the power cuts back on for a few seconds, long enough to get that thing in there, but so briefly that i’m sitting in the dark while waiting the several minutes for the adhesive to set.  civilization being highly dependent on electronic communications and payments of late, the credit card machine was clearly not an option.  trusty cell phones to the rescue, the receptionist and i are able to scrounge up enough glow between the two of us to jot down my visa number for her to run the next morning.

i escaped the office via the stairs (security & maintenance were everywhere in the building warning people away from the nonfunctional elevators) to a thick drizzle outside.  it was a lightning-fueled flash flood worthy of the best my Texan homeland has to offer.  and the professionals’ building wasn’t the only one without power or a generator.  i called Chris to warn him, since he was due to be leaving for work about that time, that every single traffic light that i could see was out.  as i drove on home, i was amazed at just how civilized everyone was being.  it was not quite 4, certainly the beginnings of rush-hour traffic, but people all acted in concert as though the lights were functional but invisible: everyone stopped at once to let a whole bunch of people turn, the we all started back up.  amazing.  slow, but not a whole lot more than you’d expect for the time of day.  traffic was just shockingly decent.  participating in being civilized, i let a gap open up in front of me to let a little rental-sized dump truck into my lane, as he’d been trying for a while.  well, the ginormous industrial-sized dump truck right behind him saw my newly created gap, but didn’t see me.  even at only 5-10mpg, let me assure you that a 10″ wide industrial flat chrome bumper coming right at your head is ever so scary.  the horn was ineffectual, my side view mirror seeded shady grove road with a million shattered pieces of itself, and my car is now sporting a fabulous series of deep gouges all down the driver’s side.  sigh, again.  poor car, hmm, bright side…maybe we can change the color to something more fun when it gets repainted?  i suppose now all i can do is wait & see just how civilized the insurance company will be.

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