This past Sunday night I took a shower in the dark. I left the bathroom door open (I know, totally messed with the Feng Shui of my apartment) so it wasn’t complete darkness. I had already started soaping up when I thought it would be cool if I lit some candles. A shower by candlelight... My mind quickly went from romance, to necessity then back to romance. Let me explain how my mind works. I see things like scenes from a movie or television show. An entire scene will flash across my mind’s eye, with different camera angles, lighting and music.
“Ooh, a shower by candlelight.” then
“This is how I’d have to shower during a blackout.”
Remember blackouts, NY? (not trying to jinx it) Who would I want to be stranded with during a blackout? Not that we have to take shower together but if you enjoy someone’s company, no need to apologize for it (Ha!)...
Sometimes when I’m writing, I love to isolate my characters. It forces dialogue and character development, conflict/estrangement and resolution. I wrote 7 episodes of a teleplay about 10 years ago. When I got to college, I took 4 of the characters and used them in a 10-minute stage play I had to write for my “Women’s Voices in Drama” course. They were stuck in a elevator for the entire play. So I had to focus on the character conceits and relationships. It also eliminated stage directions that I didn’t feel like writing (I need to find that play and post it. My mother probably has it…on a floppy disk). I thought the episode “Brian and Stewie” on Family Guy was brilliant; uncomfortable and disturbing, but brilliant from a writer’s standpoint—a lot of action with little motion.
The same takes place in real life. I’ve been stuck in elevators with people and in the subway when the train stops in the tunnel. A blackout is like the city-dwellers version of being stranded on a deserted island. At the present moment, I have about 4 or 5 people I wouldn’t mind being stranded with. They all happen to be men; I need their energy to balance me (if it’s a group of people I’d like men and women). I haven’t lived with a man in 3 years but I have visitors, overnight or weekend guests. Even if we disagree or argue or we’re just getting to know each other, there’s a natural rhythm that we fall into, and depending on how long the blackout lasts, I’d like the extra height and strength they’d provide, the fearlessness in dealing with vermin if necessary and the broad chest and shoulders for me to rest my head on. I have to be stranded with someone who can talk to me, teach me. It’s in those moments of forced confinement that you get to know someone, their quirks and ticks. And I totally get high off that process. Noticing the subtle differences and similarities of the many people I meet.
Who would you want to be stranded with during a blackout? Would you want it to be one-on-one or a group? Strangers, friends or family?