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Thursday, August 14, 2003

Sweet mountain home

It's 4:30pm and for thirty seconds my tale of murder and family tragedy is important. It only takes the appearance of CNN's John King on my boss' television to throw a monkey wrench into the cogs of the news cycle. I signified the tectonic shift the way I usually do:

"Uh-oh."

Blackouts have a bit of mystery to them. It shoves 21st century America into the Gangs of New York, although I think people threw out their torches and gas lamps years ago.

As I sit here blissfully in conditioned air, my belief in medium-city-living is once again re-affirmed. On the TV overhead, New York City's streets have become the world's biggest sidewalks. Outside my office, only a few traffic lights and a few hookers block my path back to my air conditioned home. When I arrive there, my dog will be cool, my computer will boot up my online poker game, and the TV will broadcast the hell from places north.

I was intoxicated by New York City when I was there a few weeks ago. It's smells and noise were hypnotic. However, despite my desire to force myself into emergencies on any occasion, I'm really glad I'm sitting comfortably in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

A couple of things strike me though.

First, my "uh-oh" was initially aimed at the heart of all American fear: terrorism. For a period of 20 minutes, I was fairly convinced the blackout was the work of terrorists. After all, after the big blackouts of '65 and '77 and the feared mess of Y2K, I figured America's power gurus would have this whole blackout thing figured out. As it looks at 5:42pm, it appears the gurus are still a little light in the "figured out" department.

The second thing: I wonder how many gallons of milk are going to spoil in the next 24 hours. If I were a dairy cow, I'd be udderly hiding my underparts.

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
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