OCTOBER 2019 - 3-CARD MONTE - The Time PG&E Cut the Power to California

For four nights in October I saw lots of stars. Cleo and I were alone on a deserted island a million miles from anyone. At least, that was the way it felt. Like a five-day plague, or a curse on all my friends, my neighbors and me and Cleo, the Great PG&E Power Shut-off had come to pay us a visit. When night came, I drove through the streets of Upper Lake and Witter Springs searching for a cup of hot coffee, the sound of a human voice, or the sight of a lighted street lamp and came up as empty as a beggar’s purse. Next morning, I drank coffee and ate oatmeal, with 2% milk, raisins and nuts, that were as cold as a hangman’s heart. I stumbled to bed with neither music nor TV and lay in the darkness with the vain hope of a brighter tomorrow. PG&E in all of its unassailable wisdom and power, had enacted a happening of such magnitude it rivaled the Creator’s decision in reverse when God said, ‘Let there be light.’ The only difference was PG&E said, ‘Let there be darkness’. Why then, did PG&E shut down our power? I shall tell you why. It was to prevent more brush fires; the best possible reason. With the wind whipped to a frenzy, the least bad wire connection was sure to burn the rest of us out of our homes. At a time when the winds had risen to a tempest, PG&E, wisely as King Solomon would have done, was forced to take away our light and leave us in darkness to fend for ourselves. I was satisfied. The mighty winds might howl until the land was scoured clean of all traces of civilization… but there would be no fires from PG&E lines and equipment. No wind-blown fires caused by broken PG&E electric wires would devastate Lake County again as it did last year. Who could oppose such a thoughtful and mighty reason for a power shut-down? Who would dare to question such fine and noble motives? Certainly not I, nor any reasoning person. Then… when I chanced to look out my window to study the thirteen trees and the leafy bushes lining my driveway, a small doubt nagged at me. Although I was ready to support the all-mighty PG&E to the finish line, what I saw disturbed me. Despite my absolute faith in the wisdom of PG&E’s August Leaders, the mighty windstorm, that was the reason PG&E made their decision to shut off all power, I did not see a single leaf of any tree, or bush, outside my window along the driveway quiver a speck. Not a branch of the line of trees along my driveway moved as much as a hair. I could not believe my eyes. I opened the sliding glass door to the front porch and I stepped out. What did my lying senses tell me? There was no mighty wind. It was as calm, and remained calm for all five days. Why then, if my senses did not fail me, and what I saw was not the delusion of my disordered mind, but was the terrible truth? I asked myself, why would the mighty PG&E play this terrible hoax upon unfortunates like me? A thought came to me, one that I tried not allow. The thought was not worthy of me but still it came to mind. Is it possible that all-knowing, mighty PG&E made a small mistake? How could that possibly happen to PG&E? I may have the true answer. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. PG&E was sent by the Almighty to see how much and to what lengths we poor mortals in Witter Springs can suffer our misery before total insanity takes us away from our pain and our reason. With Cleo and me he almost succeeded.