White out

Manjula Padmanabhan | Updated on March 16, 2018 Published on March 16, 2018

March 13

00.50: The view from my kitchen window is of streets glistening with mild rainfall. That’s all. Maybe the blizzard’s been cancelled? After all, last week’s fearsome gale failed to arrive on schedule.

03.20: My kitchen window reveals that the streets are still glistening. Why am I awake? Really, there’s no reason at all. Still. I might as well have some hot chocolate while I’m at it. The power might fail at any moment and I don’t have gas. Only electric.

07.00: Really? (my clock-radio is five feet away from me, but I’m shortsighted so I can’t see the numbers clearly) It’s SEVEN? It looks like 03.20 all over again. Wow. I guess the blizzard’s started, huh. But I can still see the clock-radio, which means the power’s still on. Yay.

07.20: I better brush teeth and wash face while there’s still hot water.

07.21: Oh. And write my column. Coz the Internet could fail at any moment. And charge my devices. No point pulling out the solar-charger coz, frankly, there’s not likely to be much sunlight for the next day and a half. Or so they say.

07.22: I turn on the radio while waiting for the water to boil for tea. Outside the kitchen window, the view suggests a major dandruff attack. For some reason, when I see a snowstorm in progress, all I can think of is dandruff. Yet another reminder that I’m a cartoonist, not a poet. Might there be a market for a novelty item similar to a snow-globe? Featuring the head of someone with crazy wild black hair? When you shake the globe, the dandruff flies up in a cloud of little white specks?

07.22.02: I realise there’s probably no market for such an item.

07.30: I climb back into bed. Might as well. After all, any minute now the power’s going to fail and the house will plunge into darkness and icicles will form on my breath. Everyone knows, the only thing to be done during the Ice Age is just to remain firmly in bed. Meanwhile, on the radio, the weather report informs us that the storm’s epicentre is creeping northwards up the coast. Oh what a thrill! All the dandruff flying around is merely a preamble to what lies ahead (no pun intended)! The worst is scheduled for around three in the afternoon.

08.02: While there’s still power, I might as well have some toast and eggs. Who knows when I’ll be able to eat any hot food again? Gnawing on frozen fruit and veggies might be fine for vegans but we carnivores prefer to sink our canines into something warm and steamy. (Oh eek! Flickering lights!) Last night, in a rare fit of caution, I had a hot shower, washed my hair and made a chicken Tetrazzini casserole. It was midnight by the time I was done, but at least I will not starve in the first day or two of the apocalypse. My hair will be clean (it’s already dandruff free, thank goodness) and my clothes ironed.

08.20: Is there anything, really, to compare with toast, butter and two fried eggs? (Eek! Lights flickered AGAIN!) Especially when one is contemplating the imminent end of civilisation? Here, in Elsewhere, despite being at the cutting edge of the future, the landline fails along with the cell towers. So it’s dark, it’s freezing, there’s no hot water for tea and NO PHONES. Still. I can warm my hands on my iPad for a couple of hours till it goes off too. Okay, I’d better write my column. If this ends suddenly it means that the power has, finally, fai

Manjula Padmanabhan, author and artist, writes of her life in the fictional town of Elsewhere, US, in this weekly column

Published on March 16, 2018
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