I looked at my watch, and since it was right on the hour, I decided it might be another one of those evil "rolling blackout" things that we Californians get subjected to, even though as far as I knew we weren't scheduled to have any lately. Anyway, I decided to wait and see if the electricity came back in another hour, and not to bother getting worried until then. I had been lying on my bed reading at the time (Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song, on the recommendation of Frank Aqueno, who's read the book six times and keeps asking me for regular updates on my progress through it) so I just made a mental note in my head of what unfinished projects I'd had on my computer that were now lost (really surprisingly little damage done this time, actually) and went on reading. After a while when it got too dark to read anymore, I got up and felt around in the dark for my flashlight (and had a brief scare during which I wished I'd started looking for the flashlight before it got so dark as to make finding it more difficult), found the flashlight, made another mental note that its batteries need to be replaced soon, and went on reading in the dim yellowish circle of light. But after an hour and 15 minutes went by I began to get worried, and got up to look out my front window and check whether there were any lights on in the apartments across the hall. Well, there were. Everybody had electricity except me.
At that point I got very disturbed, because that's only happened to me once before, almost exactly one year ago, and the electricity stayed off for 36 hours that time before I finally got the people in the rental office to fix it. They told me then that the switch outside had been in the "off" position, and they just switched it back to the "on" position. So last night I started putting on clothes to go outside and hunt around in the dark to locate the switch myself, because if I could find it and flip the switch myself it would be much faster than waiting around for the rental office people to get around to it.
But immediately then, before I was even half-dressed, the electricity came back on. It was odd. Sort of like it knew I was coming to get it so it just decided to surrender ahead of time.
I'm still having another technological problem though. My FrontPage Express has inexplicably stopped functioning and it's the main program I usually rely on for HTML coding and I don't wanna have to hand-code everything all the time so I need to download another copy of it and Microsoft's website is being mean to me and not specifying it as a separate component of the Internet Explorer Customized Download Setup so instead of just downloading what I really want I have to spend an hour and a half downloading all of the non-boldfaced Internet Explorer components which it tells me need updating, just in the hopes that one of these components will contain FrontPage Express.
Oh, and another thing: I've reset the clocks in my microwave and my answering machine, but I still have three others left to reset. It's astonishing how many clocks I've crammed into this one tiny "junior one-bedroom" (really just a studio with a little fold-out panel to pretend it has more than one room) apartment.
The only ones I've reset so far are the two that kept blinking at me so I had to reset them just to shut them up.
I was dreaming last night, too. I've forgotten bits and pieces and I can't string it together into any coherent plot, but I remember a sequence of three scenes, all from basically the same dream but the transitions were only vague and expressionistic. First scene: my cat Misty, who lived from the time I was 6 until I was 18, and who had 4 kittens when I was 7 years old but none of the kittens lived more than a year, was back and she was pregnant with 18 kittens and they weighed twice as much as the rest of her did. Everybody was awaiting the birth with frightened excited anticipation.
Second scene: my brother was about 10 and sitting next to my mother on the living room couch while they read the sports section together and he was reciting in his loud "pay attention to me" voice every detail of the Giants' baseball game (the Giants are her favorite team, not his or mine) in strict fact-listing format but I had some kind of witty observation to make about the Giants' shortstop (and it was a long-ago shortstop who probably did play at around the time my brother was 10: José Uribe) which I kept trying to get in edgewise, along with some comment about my own favorite team, the Angels, which I don't quite remember except that it had something to do with the fact that Chuck Finley's number was 31, but anyway my brother kept interrupting and out-shouting me and then my mother herself told me to shut up and go away because she was busy talking to my brother right now. Sudden horrible painful realization then that my mother didn't really love me. Dragging my wounded soul to my bedroom. Despondency.
(Not sure what to make of that scene. In real life, it's true that my mother declared years and years ago when I was only about 7 or 8 that she preferred my brother over me; but I always felt that it was perfectly obvious to everyone that I was really the better kid, and I thought my mother's professed preference for my brother was at least in part a function of the fact that my father preferred me - not that he quite said so like she did, but everybody knew it anyway - and she just thought my brother ought to have somebody who preferred him, just to balance us out. Though as we grew up she did in some ways get to prefer him on a more real level. She and he did and still do almost nothing all day long every day but argue with each other in loud voices for 16 consecutive hours over completely meaningless things like which baseball player deserves the most credit or blame for the game last night, whereas neither my father nor I ever says much and when we do say anything we tend to get out-shouted; but my mother says that even though on the surface she appears to get into a lot more arguments with my brother, really that just means he's voicing his disagreements with her, whereas I just obediently say "Yes, Mom" to anything she tells me to do but then behind her back I'm really the one who's far more likely to be secretly plotting to kill her. Whenever she says this about me, I just smile and say, "Yes, Mom, that's right." Because, well, you know, she does have a pretty good perception of how my personality works, really.)
Third scene: I'm college-age now, and stalking out of the house still despondent about my mother's rejection of me. It's pouring rain, and I take the bus in the direction of the college. I get off on Watt Avenue at Country Club Plaza, where I used to stop sometimes on my way home to buy books and CDs. In the dream I look around a bit but don't enter any stores and am not sure really what I came here for, except that it was a place to get away from my mother. Then I see across the street waiting in the rain at the bus stop over there is my friend Megan, wearing rainproof boots but one of the laces has come undone and now her left boot is falling off. I kneel in front of her and re-lace it for her, which is a vaguely sexual/sensual experience, though not in any way I could really explain. Then her bus arrives: I'm not sure where this one's going, probably downtown somewhere, and maybe I'll go along since I don't have anyplace better to go at the moment.
And then I wake up.
Also, my Internet Explorer download which hopefully contains a functional copy of FrontPage Express is finished now, so I'll see you all later.