They're really quite a pleasant experience all around, especially if the lights are out due to the electricity cutting out during a winter storm--this means that the house or apartment will very likely get very cold very soon, and there you are with no way to warm up your icy toes. Oh, very well, a fireplace may work if you have the luxury of owning one, but don't tell me that you actually have put wood aside in the case that something like this can happen. Candles and matches are about where people's thinking ends as far as outages are concerned, unless you're one of those depressing survivalists, in which case you really don't need to be reading this anyway, and isn't there some food you need to be out preserving or canning or something?

So. It's past ten in the evening and I'm alone, depressingly and miserably alone, in a rapidly-chilling house with nary a significant other or faithful pet to thoughtfully provide me with body heat. As I begin to think that I can feel my blood congealing in my veins, it hits me--the hot water tank in the basement is gas-powered, right? Before the thought finishes forming in my mind, I'm stripping and tripping as I run up the stairs in the dark and developing goosebumps in more places than I cared to count. Hopping into the shower and closing the door against the faint moonlight that seeps in through the frosted-glass window, I turn on the tap and am rewarded with a bone-chilling blast of ice-water--the other tap is the hot one, idiot--which eventually turns into a downpour of nearly pure steam as I tweak the taps by trial-and-error to my favorite temperature.

Having sight, the sense upon which I most rely, removed from me without being able to regain it at will, but knowing that it will certainly come back soon, makes an ordinary experience exhilarating. I cannot see the soap, but I can certainly smell it and feel it under my hand and sliding slickly over my belly; I become acutely aware of the way my skin is beginning to heat up once again and how the shower stream strikes my skin and, broken apart, turns into a cloud of vapor that insulates me. I close my eyes, even though doing this makes little difference to what I can see, and let the drumming of water on my head peel away the dirt until I forget why time is so important and my fingertips wrinkle with joy.