Here’s a story:
For the past five-plus years, I have used just one of the three electrical outlets at my kitchen counter.
[Where are you going? Come back! I'm talking outlets! It gets better!]
The space was renovated in 2010, a miraculous transformation that was worth every penny and all amounts of upheaval. But somewhere along the line, sometime after the backsplash was finally installed and the job was complete (and now I’m thinking of the line in the enh movie version of Eat, Pray Love where Elizabeth Gilbert’s friend talks about the evolution of adulthood and the stage where “you get your granite countertops”), two of the outlets stopped working. Maybe they never worked. In any case, I think I called in an electrician at one point and he couldn’t figure out the problem. My dad, who has a degree in electrical engineering, bought some fancy gadget to test the currents, and tested them, but to no avail.
And so we put childproof covers on the two nonfunctional outlets and used the remaining functional one for everything else, unplugging the kettle to plug in the toaster, unplugging the toaster to run the blender, unplugging the blender to grind some coffee, and so forth. That particular corner of the kitchen became prime real estate. And I sucked it up, getting used to the limitations of the otherwise wonderful space, living with them until they became normal.
But. If you’ve been reading the (admittedly irregular) posts here of late, you’ll know that I am trying to deal with these kinds of things, to figure out what’s wrong and then fix it or get it fixed (or at least budget to get it fixed at a different time). I’m trying not to live with the status quo when the status quo blatantly isn’t working. That’s true in all areas of my life, but of course home is one of the most tactile and immediate examples — metaphorical, too, this getting-my-house-in-order thing.
I procrastinated on the outlets because there didn’t seem to be a solution to the problem, because I worried that a solution might involve having to tear out the backsplash and I just couldn’t stomach that thought, because I was getting by well enough just with the one set of plugs. But it’s January, and I’m still just high enough from getting the chimney flashing fixed to muster up the gumption to deal with this particular (yes, First World) headache.
And so, a few nights ago, I took a baby step toward the solution: I took the cover off one of the non-working outlets and plugged in my phone charger. Just in case. Just to see. Just to be able to describe the problem to the next electrician.
Reader, it lit up.
And guess what? Guess! The other outlet? The one that I haven’t used in five years? It works too. Just now, I drank a cup of tea made with water boiled in a kettle plugged into that outlet. Earlier today, I ate some toast made in a toaster plugged into that outlet.
For five years, I have literally not used an energy source that — for all I know — was always available to me. And that’s not even a metaphor. Except that it so totally is.
And maybe there’s some loose wire somewhere that will kick out once again, flicker and die and need resuscitation in the form of an electrician rather than magic. And if and when that happens, I will make the call.
But for now, I am reveling in my tea and my toast, and in the message from the universe that I have, that I may always have had, more power, more energy, at my disposal than I realized. I just needed to plug into it.
Light it up, baby. LIGHT IT UP.