Explosion

About an hour ago, I was watching TV – I forget what, probably flipping through the channels, and contemplating going to Taco Bell for dinner. I noticed that my lights in the living room were flickering a bit, and I was sort of pissed that my fluorescent-LED replacement things that were supposed to last for ten million hours were crapping out after less than a year. All of a sudden, there was a fucking EXPLOSION! It was far louder than anything I’ve ever heard (and I’ve heard some impressive stuff) and it sounded like it was within a block of my place. I checked the phones and the ethernet to see if it was anything that would affect that, and then I went into that weird sort of adrenaline-fueled paranoia where you memorize the location of everything in the room in case the five stories above you collapse into the basement and you need to find a quick exit. I grabbed my coat and went outside, thinking it would be a fucking scud missile or car bomb, although it sounded far too “compressed” and not as omnidirectional as an exploding car.

By the time I went outside (I waited a second – read too many stories about IRA secondary bombing) and saw some fire trucks trying to put out a couple of cars that were basically twenty foot pyres of flame. There was also smouldering smoke coming out of every ConEd manhole within a block. I got enough half-truths from the pigs that were fencing off the neighborhood; I guess there was a fire and explosion of a switch or transformer underground, hence the flickering lights, and an exploding manhole set off the cars. So I went to Burger King, came back, and ate. A few minutes, there was a second explosion, but not as loud. And I think I heard a third, but it was much smaller, maybe a car gas tank or something. The lights are still flickering, and I’m worried that they will go out. (Shit – fourth explosion!) But the computer and ethernet are working fine. I hope they get the fire underway or the dropping temps help, and I hope ConEd has some redundant systems they can get online.

Nothing interesting is going on in life. I am really trying to think of another writing project, but I can’t find a spare moment or two a day to do any writing. And that’s not because of anything interesting going on. I basically go to work, come home, eat a couple of meals in there, and add some TV or the PlayStation, and that’s about it. I’ve been fighting a cold, which also makes it hard to get out of a slump. But I have managed some updates to the glossary in the last week or so. And I’m still planning for Hawaii, which is in five? weeks.

I’m too tired to argue about the war, but I watched two war movies today. First was The Big Red One, which has interesting spots in it, and Lee Marvin is always first-class. But it looks pretty dated, and has a lot of the bad sound effects and fake deaths like a John Wayne movie. Plus it’s hard to take it seriously after seeing something like Band of Brothers and its millions of dollars of effects. Second was Three Kings, which is strange because it’s one of the only Desert Storm (I) movies out there. It doesn’t focus on the actual war though; it uses the aftermath as the setting for an interesting quest. It’s weird to see “retro” films about the past that cover a period that seems like yesterday for me.

Speaking of just like yesterday, it’s been four years since I left Seattle. (Actually, the four-year mark is on Monday.) I’ve been thinking about Seattle a lot, even in my dreams, which is part of my depression lately. I have these dreams where I go back and somehow my apartment was still held for me, and a bunch of stuff of mine is in storage, stuff that I thought I lost years ago. The apartment is always different in the weird, surreal way that dreams distort reality, but it still has so many details that remind me so much of 600 7th Ave #520. This morning I had the dream, and when I woke up, a cool, clean breeze drifted through a window. For a moment, it felt like I was back, like my big window looking out over Harborview was cracked open, and I could wake up, run downstairs, and jump in the Escort for a quick run up I-5 and to the nearby Denny’s, or over the 520 to some record shopping in Bellvue. It’s always weird what I miss and what I look back on over time, but right now it’s really kicking me in the ass because I don’t feel like the present is offering that much. Of course, ten years from now, I could be anywhere in the world, wishing I was back in Astoria the night the manholes exploded.

PS Thank you to Kelly for the link. Now I’m off to play some Playstation for a while.

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