Remember that this entry is a couple of days old because of the Hurricane and subsequent power outage. As you'll see, this entry is about the Power OutRage!)
Sitting here in the candlelight, utterly alone at the Mary Anderson Center, PP thinks this must be one of the weirdest experiences of her life. And it’s self-imposed! She’d come here to write, be alone, and have quiet, but going on day 2 of no electricity isn’t really what she bargained for.
Where to even start? (She wonders how long this battery on the little laptop will hold out too…so she’s gonna type fast!)
Imagine hurricane force winds of 73 miles per hour! Yes, Ike made a dramatic WINDY appearance in Southern Indiana if you can believe that! PP had noticed the Wretched Wind, of course, but had been playing her lovely fantasy baby grand and so improvs on Debussy’s prelude XI had taken most of her attention! After the wind died down, in the early evening, CM and PP had gone for a walk to survey the damage- --it was intense—gigantic fallen trees blocking entire paths and smashing sweet little bridges, piles of leaves, branches and debris from buildings strewn about the previously idyllic grounds; an attic window completely blown out of the Mary Anderson House—the damage was considerable. PP dreaded the coming symphony of chain saws in her future, but had no idea that this would be the least of her problems.
It had been several hours later after the power (7? 8?) had been knocked out, during a friendly dinner with the friars (where PP got the distinct impression that the whole no swimming without a friar was a big joke after talking to African Traveling Friar—“No swimming without Friar Chicken! No swimming without Friar Eggs…."), that PP and CM ‘roughed it’ with candles and flashlights. CM had had to ‘buck up’ to pack by candlelight, but hell, what else could she do? The plane left in the morning and she had to get all her art supplies out of the studio and packed up for shipping and then pack her own suitcase. She did it, swearing only a little bit when she bumped into a random piece of hallway furniture, as PP lay on her bed reading What Happened to Anna K till midnight. PP was impressed with her stamina and calmness. But then there had been much to be impressed by with CM—PP was gonna miss her sorely, esp. later on!
So last night had been a lark, but tonight? Well, PP is a bit distressed to find herself alone in this big house with no electricity and no support staff and no ice cream! (See what happens when the fridge stops?)
She’s trying to be very Bronte about it with all the candles and literary repast, but it just feels creepy and weird. Maybe cuz her swimming day was a total fiasco too.
Okay, so here’s the deal if you can even believe it. PP had scheduled to rent a car this week expressly for the purpose of swimming. Round 11 in the morning, the nice young woman from Enterprise with her sister’s name, Laura, picks her up, (waiting outside the Loftus house cuz none of the phones work. Fortunately PP heard her and came running down.) So.... Now PP has a car. Cool... there’s no electricity here, but the Y is in Jeffersonville. She thinks maybe they’ll have juice, yes?
PP drives on all the weird freeways –they are all just numbers which freeways are, but these numbers were unfamiliar and going in all the wrong directions -- East and West and 150 to 64 to 265—they had no number logic! in Indiana and even Kentucky. (PP didn’t mean to veer off into Kentucky, but alas, her Midwestern Freeway direction was pitiful! So of course, PP gets lost going over the goddamn Ohio River and turns around in the slums of Louisville. Oh. Here are the people of color. Yes, like every city in America, they are in the slums.
So, PP crawls past Lou Ann’s hair salon, the broken down JC store, completely disoriented and lost, and decides to stop at an obviously closed gas station to ask directions, where 2 round women with IQ’s of 30 shake their heads at her through a closed glass door, making noises through the cracked barrier that they have no clue where Mt St Francis is.
They holler back into the store, and a stately southern gentleman emerges, his drawl matching the deep wrinkles on his face, and tells PP how to get back on the freeway, “You see that hospital sign there…” he points, languid and serious. “You make a left hand turn there…then you make another left hand turn at the next then you make another left….”
Trying to pay attention, it’s hard! PP is distressed by now since this is after she’s discovered that the Y was closed. She’d found it, but no one was there except a Pudgy Woman who says she works there and her obnoxious child, screaming at the top of his lungs, “MOMMY CAN I HELP?” PP thinks, hell yeah, you could shut up, but decides against saying this aloud, and just asks if she can look at the pool. “Sure…. I guess that’d be all right.”
Like PP is gonna take no for an answer if this woman had declined. But PP thinks that no one really comes out and says “No,” around here, it’s all just in circles. (It certainly would be nice if someone would say NO to the goddamn obnoxious kid!)
Sighing, why is she doing this she wonders, torturing herself with looking at a closed pool, but she can’t help it. And of course, it’s a cute little 3-lane lap pool. Completely empty cuz the Y is really closed but brazen mermaid that PP is just walked in anyway cuz the door was open and hell, this is making no sense! PP has lost her usual narrative flow.
See what happens when you’re forced to be Bronte and you don’t get to swim?
All literary clarity evaporates!
Double Damn! Or as Heathcliff would say, D_________d!!!
So anyway, the pool was sweet, but exasperatingly closed. ” When do you think you’ll be open again?” PP had asked PW—“I’m not sure. Maybe tomorrow….”
Damn damn damn damn!
Can you even believe this?
So PP decides that HELL, she’s just gonna go back to the MAC and jump in the forbidden lake, but by the time she weaves thro the slums of Louisville, she’s so distressed and headachy that she just flops down on her bed and tries not to cry….
Was this the Plan?
So, PP is here, in the dark, the computer battery is holding up so far. Ardis Fucking Moonlight is a stupid flake to leave her here by herself (PP is not even gonna change her name to protect her identity. She doesn’t deserve the cover of anonymity! ) And so tomorrow, if she gets thro the spooky lonely night, PP is at least gonna get a swim in somehow. Either in the lake or at the Y or hell, why not both?
Yeah, she’s earned 2 swims at the very least for being such a Writing Swimming Deprived Trooper.
Shit, she’s not really a trooper, she just doesn’t know what else to do……
It is all just too damn weird…..but it’s a good story, right? Yeah, maybe, if the goddamn electricity comes back on before she leaves!
What would Heathcliff do?
Hurl Ardis Fucking Moonlight into the dark and scary lake full of snakes! And then stalk off into the moonlit night, clenching his fist toward the sky and yelling, “Where’s a Friar when ye need one? D__________d to ye all!!!”
And to all a good night!