Monday, August 29, 2011

The continuing joy of paper

Hurricane Irene passed through this weekend, hurling branches against our house all night into early morning. Acorns rolled madly across the roof and deck. In the morning, the yard was a chaos of oak leaves. And we were without power.

No power means no Internet for us since it comes via FIOS (fiber optic lines). But, out on our driveway to greet us the next morning was our Sunday Washington Post. God knows what conditions our newspaper delivery man had driven through--we later found out that there were two big oaks down across our road. We sat down to cold, milkless cereal and read the Post in the dim quiet of our house.

What a miracle that throughout the storm, the Post's writers and production staff had continued to labor and were able to get it out to the suburbs in a few hours. Without that paper on the table in front of me, I would have had no local news, save for what we could catch on my portable radio, between endless ads.

The next day, I tried to make calls on my cell phone to see what was open. But I had thrown away the phone book when it had arrived a few weeks ago, thinking I could look everything up on the Internet. Fortunately, I had written the number for the county library reference line on my paper Rolodex and called it for the number of the public library (wanting to check on whether it had power or not)--where I sit now, on a borrowed terminal, writing this post.

Last night I read an Alice Munro short story ("Dulse") by lantern light. If I'd had it on a Kindle only, it might not be accessible anymore, the power given out.

I could live this way for awhile, I think--we have books and flashlights and (cold) water (I have taken one-half of a cold shower so far, the hot giving out before the end). There is a sense of contentment and calm, save for the sound of the dripping freezer, letting go of its frigid interior and all the good food therein.

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