Hello. This week my city spent four days cowering under the ponderous eyebrows of a nor’easter. A nor’easter is a very big storm, a storm so big the weather man needed all his back-up arrows to portray the swirling miasma of grief and water that descended on us. Every few years, Norfolk is attacked by storms. This time, as usual, the flooding was insane, the rain was relentless, and the power went out. It’s all fun and games until the power goes out, am I right? Pointing at the stoopid surfers on TV, watching the reporters wading around through downtown.Then the lights go off and it all becomes primal: You want heat, clean water, and information.
All around us, the city descended into flood water and madness. A block from here, a homeless woman stood out in the middle of a four lane street, her hands raised to the sky, water streaming down her face, repeating, “WHY RAIN? WHY RAIN?” Why indeed? Farther down the street, cars drove off Colley Avenue bridge and straight into the Elizabeth river, because the road was covered in water and they couldn’t see the end of the bridge.
The city ground to a halt. However, inside my refrigerator, the pumpkin pie, the whipped cream, the beautiful cheeses, the extensive selection of condiments, dressings, and sauces, the egg nog, the various coffee creamers, the lovely pan of homemade macaroni and cheese, the bacon, the pork roast, the red meat… all were industriously rotting. When the power came back on yesterday, I opened up the fridge, and filled a big box with casualties of the storm. I cleaned the fridge out, top to bottom, and stood back to look at it, uncharacteristically gleaming. I only clean my fridge after a power outage. This may be why Norfolk floods every few years. To keep us from dying from fridge bacteria.
I stood there and thought: Now would be a good time to make a vow. I will not put anything back in that fridge that doesn’t belong there. That doesn’t nourish my family. That is full of genetically altered corn and hydrogenated oil.
I held that virtuous thought in my mind for a good thirty seconds, before heading out with the girls for martinis, falafel, tzatziki, and pepperoncini. The family had pizza, so the first thing back in the new/old fridge is a box of Hawaiian pizza leftovers — stuffed crust pan. I wish I could say I had a great revelation during 48 hours with no power. I will take a few things away: the knowledge that power is good, those condiments were probably too old anyway, and a nice vat of olive cream cheese and a bag of salt bagels would look GREAT in that nice clean fridge!