Buzzz. Buzzz. Buzzz. The alarm clock sounds. 6 a.m.
Groan. Get up. The man groggily removes his electric razor from the
recharging stand while his wife takes a warm shower. There’s a
comforting aroma in the air. The man remembered to plug in the coffeemaker
last night. He smiles with smug satisfaction. Still, there’s a nagging
feeling that he’s forgotten something.
He moves to the closet for the day’s clothes. Oops.
Now he knows what he forgot. “Honey,” his wife calls from the shower.
“Did you get the clothes out of the dryer last night like I asked
He loudly mumbles something indecipherable, before
sprinting down the stairs, quickly grabbing an armful of clothes from the
dryer, plugging in the iron and setting up the ironing board. Next he puts
four slices of bread into the fancy toaster they were given as a
house-warming present, and punches the button on the plug-in intercom.
“Zack, Hillary, this is the voice of God. Wake up!”
“Knock if off, Dad. That hasn’t worked since
kindergarten,” Zack says over the intercom. “Actually, Zack, it worked
on you until well into fifth grade,” his older sister helpfully points
out over her intercom.
Zack comes downstairs. “I was up before you and
Mom, listening to music on my CD player,” Zack shares with his dad.
“Anybody I’ve heard of?” the man inquires. “Rat Poison, and also
the Screaming Meemies,” Zack says. “Sorry I asked,” the man replies.
The man then hustles over and irons his wife’s
uniform, neatly and thoroughly, then hurriedly swipes the iron across his
work shirt a couple of times. He hears a sound. Or, rather, the lack of a
sound. Uh-oh. The shower water upstairs has stopped running. At this
inopportune instant, the cat jumps up on the ironing board, arching its
back, while the dog whines at his feet, both craving attention. “Sorry,
guys, gotta run,” he says.
He hurriedly packs up the ironing board and hustles
upstairs, hanging up his wife’s uniform at the exact instant she emerges
from the bathroom. She finds her uniform, and smiles at him sweetly. “I
thought you had forgotten,” she says. “Who, me?” he replies, turning
away just in time to hide the ruddy glow that appeared in his cheeks every
time he described his fishing trips or athletic exploits.
The four family members then converge on the kitchen,
open and close the refrigerator over and over, grab a piece of toast,
jelly it up, put it down, disappear to get the newspaper, put on makeup,
write a day’s list, or pack a lunch, never sitting down at the same
time, and appearing and disappearing from the kitchen in a frenzy, like
the well-drilled actors in a French farce.
The woman flips on the TV like
clockwork at 6:35 to get the day’s weather report.
“Hillary, Zack, it’s going to be a hot one today,” she cheerfully
announces, as 15-year-old Zack emerges wearing dark, lumpy, low-slung
jeans, shoes the size of a roadhouse menu, and a T-shirt that doubled as
his pajamas a short while ago. “You look nice, dear,” she says, having
perfected the art of giving compliments without a hint of irony.
The man asks, “Hillary, are you driving yourself to
school today?” The 17-year-old’s reply is instant. “As opposed to,
like, getting all gross and sweaty walking three miles uphill to school
like you did, or sharing the bus with a bunch of freshmen?” she replies.
“Just checking, honey,” he musters. Is this the same Daddy’s girl
who used to sing “I’m a Little Ray of Sunshine,” he wonders to
himself, as he pushes the garage-door opener and descends into the garage.
Oops. He hustles back to kiss his wife. “They do become human again as
adults, right?” he asks. “Yes, dear,” she consoles him.
The kids leave soon after, and then the woman gathers
up her laptop computer to take into the office, and resets the thermostat
a bit, to acknowledge the fact that the cat and dog won’t be quite as
finicky as the family about keeping a super-cool house on a super-hot day.
She pats the dog, rubs the cat, sets the security
system, and leaves for the day. Just another manic morning.
And so it goes, all day, every day, as the electric
service stays quietly in the background during the morning, the afternoon
and evening, and through the night, powering the alarm clock, the razor,
the water heater, the air-conditioner and furnace, the intercom, the
dryer, the iron, the toaster and coffeemaker, the refrigerator, the
garage-door opener, the security system, the TV, the laptop computer, the
Your electric service is provided to you as reliably
as possible, at the lowest cost possible, by a cooperative utility that
you and your neighbors own. Your electric service may be in the
background, but our presence in the community is in the foreground, since
we’re locally owned and locally controlled by our members. Including
you. So here’s to a good day, every day, for you and your family, from
your electric cooperative.
Don’t forget to set the alarm clock. And check the dryer, too, while
you’re at it.