My partner, Sandy, who works from home, was out of town when I texted him with a helpful suggestion.

Just got a postcard from the DWP saying that they’re shutting off the power for God knows what reason. Probably to remind us what having no power is like before they raise our rates. You should consider staying overnight at the condo in Palm Springs and working there on Wednesday. Then you can drive home once the power’s back on.

He was, of course, quite grateful, and I silently checked myself for stigmata as I embraced my Christ-like qualities of compassion and thoughtfulness. Who needs to do an AIDS Ride or volunteer in the Peace Corps, I thought. I just notified my partner that the power was gonna be out.

As Wednesday commenced, I paused periodically to revel in the Smell Me nature of my sensitivity to others’ needs. Until I got a text from Sandy.


A piece of God’s greatest handiwork, I assumed he meant. Tall, and smart, and filled with virtuous qualities like selflessness and humility. I dialed his cell.

“Did you read the card from the DWP?” he said when he answered.

“Of course,” I replied defensively, almost mystically intuiting a shift in tone away from gratitude. “It said 8:00-3:30 on Wednesday. In bold type.”

“That’s right,” he replied. “8:00-3:30 on Wednesday. IN PALM SPRINGS. Where I AM.”

We own a little condo in Palm Springs that we rent out, mostly to delightful Canadian retirees who flee British Columbia in the winter to escape the Santa’s Workshop-like conditions up there. The DWP postcard, which came to our LA address, was for that condo. I had sent him TO the power outage instead of away from it.

“You’re always reminding me,” he barked, “what an amazing combination of creativity and organizational ability you have.”

“That is not true!” I yelled, inadvertently overlooking the advertising awards, book reviews and valuable suggestions on how to live his life more efficiently that I occasionally leave on the kitchen counter.

“You might wanna rethink the organizational part.”

He reminded me of the time that I got lost on the Paris metro and had to wait for him to come find me because I couldn’t decipher the maps. He reminded me of the time that he asked me to pick him up from the airport and I did, dutifully driving to Burbank airport at the appointed time. Except he was at LAX.

“Clearly,” I sniffed, “the scale is just tipping a little more towards creativity these days. I am, after all, a writer.”

“Uh-huh,” he replied. “Well, unless there’s a National Book Award or Emmy statuette on the counter when I get home tomorrow, I’m thinking the scale is tipping a little more towards 72-hour-hold.”

Come visit me. I’ll be the one enjoying three luxurious days off with catered meals and free drugs.