Ballard, October 2020

25 October 2020

We lost power Wednesday, due to a dramatic lightning strike on a transformer just up the street. The flash and bang filled the sky and lacked direction. We always jump to the best version of the facts when there are no witnesses, but in this case it is true. The reality of living reliant on infrastructure smacks me in the forehead. I try to duck under it, looking for spare candles and headlamps in our camping tote. Luckily we are fortified to survive in the mountains for a few nights.

Neighbors I've never seen poked their heads out the door asking me to verify the roasted transformer as I walk down our block in the wet hail annihilation. Set sail. I love my maritime climate but realize, as I age, that most rain gear I have is disposable crap and often just embrace the wet, though this is much easier with a hot tub or shower soak waiting back home. We can handle most of the incovenience with batteries but need fuel for that hot water.

The cavalry hadn't arrived by 8 PM, running far behind the 2 PM estimate for restorations still present on their website. These sites look like shit because the government has to target every mobile device out there, old and new. So, as I stroll through the neighborhood, we are one out of five houses in the dark. The blue-gray glow of TV light hitting closed blinds.

My doctor Jonathan stays in town during the week at his mom's place two blocks down. I've been seeing him for about 15 years. I have a 3/4-scale bass my Pop got for 20 bucks gathering dust at the practice space, so I've been telling him every visit for years that it's got his name on it. Tonight's the night he randomly comes to by to collect. Last time I visited him he was practicing a Roy Ayers tune, but now it's that blue-eyed soul number with the hook "got a thing for you, and I can't let go". I'm in the front house practicing, shrouded in the light of every candle I can find. He listens to me outside before coming in, "sorry to interrupt your séance, it's sounding great".

Admittedly, I am trying to contact the dead and suck their energy: Villa-Lobos tonight, Hedges, Varese, Eddie has recently left, Ligeti, FZ. I think, "the sound you bore in life must anchor you here on some level." Am I preventing them from getting on the boat and crossing into the afterlife with my methodical slow-burn through the same 40 bars over and over and over again? Or is it fuel for their campstove on some other plane? Lots of money in the bank for some if that's the case–Heitor Villa-Lobos is ready to cook a post-death feast, since every guitarist on the traditional classical path studies these pieces at some point.

Our power comes back on at 10:30 and I'm back to the 'wealth of options' all the tech brings, but I prefer the wake up a power outage brings to my block.

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