When it hit, I’d just woken from the strangest dream: George W. Bush was on a book tour, I was in the middle of Walmart during a blowout sale, and a lady in a spiffy red blazer was running for president, shrieking “for the greater good!” in an octave only small dogs can hear.
It had been a tough night here in the Pacific Northwest. La Nina had introduced us to winter with 50-mile-an-hour winds and a power outage that turned all the conveniences of life into useless nicknacks.
After years of living on the outer limits of the Capitol Forest, I no longer found glamour in power outages. Nor did I look at them as a covert method of getting others to play SCRABBLE with me. Candlelight was not the romantic lighting I once thought it was, but a prequel to waxy buildup on table tops the day after.
Even so, we Pacific Northwest dwellers are an optimistic bunch. If we think it’s possible to get around the fir tree over the driveway, we think it’s safe to come out of our hovels, and then, we pick ourselves up and make firewood out of our misfortune.
Some of us push things even further and coerce the whims of winter and the flightiness of Ms. Nina. As I blinked away a restless sleep of Walmart tramplings, racks of red blazers and images of George W. signing copies of “My Little Goat,” the radio, TV, dishwasher, and nearly every light in the house blinked on, I felt empowered and, against all commonsense, I baited Mother Nature with this little gem from the man of my dreams: “Bring it on!” I yawned.
To which the real woman in charge replied with one of her mightiest powers: a 4.2 seismic shake of the earth below. Just the thing to knock some sense into me.