Let’s say there’s a power-cut. In the middle of the day. This day is particularly overcast and spooky, with little or no natural light. You know, like April. You are either home from work or you don’t have a job outside of that home. The point is, apparently, you don’t have any juice inside it, either.
Here’s what you might do:
1. Consider, for a moment, that you’ve finally done it. With the computer on, the music on and for some reason all the damn lights on, you have blown all the fuses. In the world. Ever. This power outage is your fault. You were listening to Sun Volt, and now there are no volts. Neeener, neener. Screw you, you big hippie.
2. Wonder if the apocalypse/the extra weird part of The Passage has come true.
3. Compose yourself. Text your boyfriend/girlfriend/anyone who does not jump to stupid conclusions. They might be at work. Just sayin’.
‘Are you out, too?’
Oh, good. Kinda. At least the whole building, the whole street, the whole town will not blame you. This also means the bill is paid and the apocalypse has not arrived. Good deals.
4. Now that you know it isn’t your fault, you are bored. You amuse yourself by getting dressed. In the dark. Before NO JUICE you may have been hanging out in your robe. Because you can.
5. You may quote that line from Al Pacino. All over the house. And you may laugh. Because it makes sense. And you are stupid.
7. You may feel vindicated. 7b. But still a little dirty.
8. You might worry that the food in your fridge is sweating. Your freezer is defrosting.
9. You eat. Some grapes. A sandwich without the bread. You contemplate the dubious yogurt. You don’t think so.
10. You remember that old episode of Rosanne where their power goes out. No, not that one. The tornado one. You think of helmets. And ghost stories. You might write a ghost story when the power comes back on.
Which it does. Eventually.
This whole list may have played out in the space of twenty minutes. In my house. Which now has power. Of course.
And so, I’ve kinda spent all day looking for wedding shoes.
It’s no secret that my original ‘bridal vision’ involved Doc Martens. I got one of those visions after I figured out what exactly a bridal vision was, and I’m still not really sure. Anyway, wedding Docs. Problem is, I don’t really like white. Or flowers.
But I saw myself in wedding boots for a few reasons. I need the support, and I can’t wear something that I step out of while dancing. Because it may fly across the room and hit someone in the head. And that would be dangerous. For them.
On my wedding day of all days, I’d like to avoid slippery shoes. I also don’t like heels, and the feeling is mutual.
Another reason I was thinking boots is because I don’t like white. Or flowers. Or ivory and flowers. Or peep toes. And I always thought kitten heels sounded like cruelty to feet. Or animals.
I’ve always had a weird relationship with shoes. When I was a kid, I would go around clicking my tongue, pretending my sturdy, practical rubber soles made the same sound as ‘grown-up shoes.’ The tongue thing was not a nervous tic, just a six year-old’s wish.
Saying that, I had other wishes back then. When I listed my wishes, Clicky shoes, as I called them, came between ‘Siblings’ and ‘a midnight blue Mazda’. That’s how my mind worked. Still does.
Most shoes I coveted back then weren’t designed for someone who wore braces up to her hips and then her knees. I got that.
It wasn’t all bad. At all. My red sneakers were cool. And my Rainbow Brite sneakers were bitchin’.
But I can’t help but think there’s a tiny part of me that doesn’t like girlyshoeswithsixinchheels because they are inaccessible to me. That tiny part of me may be six-years old.
There’s a bigger part of me that just loves boots. Feels powerful in boots. Rocks the boots.
She wants to wear Docs to her wedding. Plan was to buy plain ones and have butterflies painted on them. That’s turning out to be a giant pain in the ass. With too many weeks involved. Or something.
I can get bespoke ones. My friends have offered to paint them. My mother has offered to paint them. But my thoughts are in words. Not vines and swirls and butterflies, as much as I love them. I can’t design stuff. I can’t tell anyone what I want. I don’t know what I want until I see it.
I’m seeing lovely non-white Docs with satin laces. They aren’t purple. They might pass for purple, though. Are they, forgive me, special enough to get married in? Maybe not.
I went shopping with my bridal crew for their shoes. I might have looked for myself. I didn’t see anything I wanted. Or anything that would stay on my feet where someone else puts them.
‘I need straps! Rubber soles!’ I said in one shop and then another. And then another. ‘Straps are too thin,’ I might have said in one place. ‘Those straps are too strappy.’
‘Mary Janes, court shoes,’ I listed. ‘Think outside the shoe.’ Nothing.
Today’s search was ‘purple Mary Janes’. Lots of ‘sold out’ and ‘No results found’, too. There was even a White Screen of Doom. I was on the phone with my Mom and then my Dad, volleying product numbers and styles back and forth until I said, ‘You know, it’s a good thing I’d get married in bare feet if I had to.’
‘You won’t,’ said Dad. ‘What you need is a pair of ruby slippers.’
That’ll be tomorrow’s search, then. Maybe Dorothy’s shoes will be Lorna’s shoes, too.
I was breaking out in hives. Shaking. Clawing at my skin.
‘What the hell is this?’ I said to Sarge. ‘Red splotches. On my neck. Should I do this? I think I’m gonna be sick. Hold my hand.’ And then I grabbed his hand. Maybe broke his fingers. A little.
No, I was not peeing on a stick. I was not choosing table linens for the wedding dinner (which is actually the wedding breakfast, but never mind). None of those things.
I bought a Kindle. It comes with an existential crisis.
‘Do you think I should finish all the books I have before I buy one?’
‘Then you’ll never do it.’
‘Is that my answer? Do I even need one?’
‘Do you want one?’
Now. I have been openly hostile to e-readers. They are not books. They don’t smell like paper and ink. Real readers read books. So there.
A girl can change her mind. I’ve caught up with the times for a few reasons:
1. Sarge likes to sleep. I do not. He can’t sleep with the light on, I can’t read without it. And when I read in bed, I sometimes drop the book on Sarge’s face. By accident, of course. Mostly. The last time it happened, he got a paper-cut. On his eye. I laughed. And then I felt bad.
He might have started to wear an eye-mask in bed. To block out my reading light and to shield his face from low-flying books. The mask is a kind of compromise. He used to fall asleep with a pillow over his face. Freaked me out a little.
He wants to travel lighter. I do, too. Especially on the honeymoon.
iii. My personal Amazon boy-cot didn’t last very long. Obviously. I worked for them for about 5 minutes/exactly a month. Or at least I worked for people who employed people to work there. And then I quit. It was all very Norma Rae. Not really. After I left, I wanted to see how long I could last without using them.
I will say that the end of my drought wasn’t my fault. I like it when my book-group books can be locally-sourced. Or something. If not locally, then at least from GreenMetropolis. I found our most recent book-group selection there, and then my order was cancelled by the seller. And it wasn’t available at the library. And so, I ordered it on Amazon. Without looking at the Kindles.
But, I was (trying to) read in bed last week, and I might have given Sarge another paper-cut. Soon after, I broke out in those hives.
‘The built-in light will save your eyesight,’ said Sarge.
‘And yours,’ I said.
The things we do for love.
Are you an e-reader convert? Do you still read real books? Am I evil? (Feel free to not answer that last question!)
I can’t say much about my third hair and make-up trial. Because y’know, my future husband reads this blog. But I will say: Jackpot! He’s a lucky man.
After I slapped myself in the face with make-up remover, I let him back in the living-room. We were waiting to go to Skye for the week. Off to Dad and Anne’s new house. With a separate suitcase just for books.
Dad called and said, ‘I’ll be there at 1.30.’ And then 4.30. And then 7.30.
At about 8 o’clock we loaded the books and the chair into a rented truck, and set off after a round of Luggage Jenga.
‘Are we there yet?’ I chirped from the back.
‘You still have glitter on your face,’ said Sarge.
Take It To The Bridge
We missed all the ferries. So we drove up and over to the bridge. In the snow, with the radio tuned to this show.
Anne called a weather and traffic hotline, and someone actually gave us the right information.
I fell asleep and woke up when Dad swerved to avoid hitting a deer.
Welcome home, I thought.
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
At about two in the morning I unfolded myself from the back of the truck, did a sliding jump to the ground, and looked up to the stars. ‘Hello, lovely old people,’ I said. I may have winked. Except I’m not co-ordinated enough, so I blinked.
Within minutes of stepping into the house, Sarge was reaching over my head to hit the light in the spare room.
Darkness and silence, until, ‘I didn’t even start with glitter on my face.’
‘OK, it was just your eyes, then,’ said Sarge.
‘Good save,’ I said.
Coffee and Hope
The next morning brought new furniture for Dad and Anne’s new place. I sat in the kitchen with coffee and a book because I always bring my own chair. I transferred onto the new couch before my coffee got cold.
‘How’s the book?’
‘Anne Frank is in the attic. But I’m not giving anything away.’
That night we went to a pub for dinner. And talked about the wedding while I broke my No Drinking ‘Til June rule. Several times.
The accessible toilet was so big, I could have slept in it. Even bigger than the one I slept in that one time in France.
Chips With Everything
Dad, Sarge and I were in a diner-type-thing, talking about the wedding.
An older couple (of tourists) was sitting at the next table trying to figure out why everything on the menu came with chips. Strangely, they reminded me of myself about 20 years ago. Because my first kinda-sorta meal here was egg and chips. Part of me is still waiting for a bag of Wise chips with that. I’ve been here a long time.
The Art of ‘Fuck It!’
An hour after eating, we went swimming. I can walk in water. Not on it, but in it. And so, I paced the pool while Dad and then Sarge did laps. I used to swim really well and then I stopped, and these days I’m never far from the edge. This time, I blamed it on the kids’ party in the next lane. The water was really warm, and I didn’t want to think about why.
I scraped my feet on the way back into the chair. But I had to get off the floor.
Later, in Dad’s bathroom, I’m sitting in the shower, hoping I’ve air-dried enough not to slip on the floor while I transfer to my chair, parked at an actually jaunty angle, waiting for my less jaunty, more nervous ass on the seat. I don’t know the angles of this bathroom, how many steps and swings and pivots it takes to get from A to B and back. But the thing is I’ve thought about too much. I’ve thought about falling. And I can’t move. So. I wait. For half an hour.
‘Fuck it,’ I said. And I kind of launch myself from one seat to another. I got in, so I got out.
The next day, with the help of these guys, I got to launch arrows into a target. No, the target wasn’t Sarge.
They might have moved the target closer. And then I shot over it.
I needed that. After a few moments of ‘my body doesn’t move like that’, I needed a day of, ‘Oh yes, it does.’
As I launched the arrows farther and father away, I pep-talked to myself. ‘Let’s bust some shit,’ I said. And I did.
Things Work Out
The night before we left, I didn’t want to go. Or, I wanted to know when we’d be back. The silence and the stars have always done good things to me.
I’d gone quiet when suddenly, a new friend said, ‘Things have a way of working out, Lorna.’ How many people were with me at that moment? All the stars.
I looked at Sarge. ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Things work out.’