Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Leaving the UK, Entering Total Chaos

All good things come to an end, as they say, and my trip to the UK was no exception. I spent my last day in the UK switching hotels for one more evening, and then met up with Tapio for drinks, as he was also at a loose end before his flight the next day. I’m sure that was an odd sight, as Tapio has a well-quaffed and polished New Romantic look, whereas I look like a refugee from a 1970s coffee commercial. But it was nice to have one more visit before leaving.

I got the bad news that afternoon that John Foxx had fallen and hit his head on a desk, and had to go to the hospital. He was released the same day, but told he couldn’t travel. So, the last two dates of the Maths tour were canceled. I have not heard from him, but I presume he is back at home resting, and I hope he gets much better very soon.

The morning that I left the UK, it was a lovely day in London, the trains were on time, my flight left on time. Then we crossed the “big pond” and everything promptly turned to crap. It seems like it was an omen that I shouldn’t have bothered coming home.

First, in further evidence that Mother Nature hates New Jersey (and much of the Northeast), a huge Nor’easter came roaring through, dropping anywhere from 5 inches to 2 feet of snow. (I think the New England states were hit the worst with regard to snow—we had the minimum). It was a heavy wet snow, and the trees are still full of leaves, so this basically has amounted to a Tree Apocalypse. I can’t drive down any street without seeing tree corpses littered along sidewalks, often mixed with power lines that have been dragged down with them. My flight was diverted to Boston at first, but by some miracle they let us into Newark, and we arrived at 6:00 pm. There were no trains, I was not about to make my friend drive an hour to get me, so I had to resort to calling my parents to come get me. Fortunately they made it without incident, as there was very little traffic on the road. But it took about an hour and a half to get luggage, as the door was stuck on the plane’s freight compartment. By the time I got to my parents’ house, it was after 9:00 pm. I did not choose to drive home that night. (My parents, by the way, also had no power).

Curiously, while in the airport waiting for my luggage, I heard a conversation behind me between two friends, one who was describing an incident at her friend’s house involving a toilet that exploded while she was on vacation. “The tank just cracked. It was weird.” (You may recall that the exact same thing happened to my parents while they were on vacation last month). Then I looked across the baggage claim belt, and saw a woman who looked almost exactly like me, wearing a coat that looks much like one I own. After reading H.P. Lovecraft all afternoon on the plane, I was starting to wonder if I hadn’t entered some fourth dimension.

The next day I arrived at my own house. My neighbor was waiting for me outside, to tell me that we had no power, and how abysmally awful things had been in the neighborhood the last two weeks. I walked in to a freezing cold house, but also to an overjoyed cat, so I stayed in the house with him for awhile in spite of the fact that I wanted to leave immediately. My yard is littered with leaves—no surprise as I’ve been away for almost 3 weeks—and the tops of large trees. Fortunately no trees landed on my house. Once the snow melts, I will have another monumental task ahead of me in the yard.

So, the time since my return has been spent at friends’ or family’s houses that have hot water so I can take showers, searching out launderettes that don’t have lines of people out the door (and preferably with a pub nearby), and fighting some kind of respiratory infection that I’ve acquired since returning (and that the extreme cold in my house is not helping). They’re not predicting that we will have power until Thursday or Friday. If I come home Friday to no power, I’m calling up the electric company and hacking a lung into the phone, hoping that the threat of possible death by cold will drive them over here. I’m trying to be patient, but it’s suspicious to me that everyone in the state who has the OTHER electric company as their utility carrier had their power restored by Monday. The same thing happened during Hurricane Irene. I’d change electric companies, but I think my only other choice probably leases their lines from my current company, so I’d be in the same boat.

So, wish me luck as I attempt to keep both of my lungs from exploding, and my life together while I have no resources at home. I promise a return to my normally obtuse blogging after this short intermission.

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