Today, whilst I was being forced to hunker down in the boy's locker room of the dance school to defend myself against oncoming tornados, my neighbors were setting up camp in our creepy (damp, cobwebby, missing the step at the bottom of the staircase) basement. Upon emerging from the locker room I found a message on my phone from my upstairs neighbor who had called to see if I was home and wondered if wanted to join them in the basement. She assured me that the door to the back foyer (from which the basement can be accessed) was unlocked.
The second neighborly deed done unto me came several hours later, after the mother of all thunder storms had barreled through the city. Coming from wet-but-normal campus, I didn't realize that power had been lost until I poked the button at the cross walk and noticed that the light wasn't changing because none of the traffic lights were functioning. Beneath my umbrella, I made a death-defying sprint across four lanes of traffic and walked at a steady clip toward my apartment, which loomed darkly before me.
Once indoors, I listened to my second message of the day while fumbling around for a flashlight. This one came from my next door neighbor - whom I fondly refer to as Neighbor Keith - asking if I needed any candles. I decided that I did not once I located my super-high-powered-battery-operated camping lantern but, feeling cared-for and protected, I appreciated the thought.
Unable to bake or do homework like I had planned, I dinked around the dark apartment, swinging the lantern along with me as I swept the floor, picked up clothes and made my bed. When I had run out of things to clean I perched the lantern atop the headboard and lay down on my bed with a book. Moxie came and fitted himself into his usual spot between my right arm and my side.
It was a like a dark, quiet vacation. We lay there like that for a long time, me wondering if the electricity would come on again or if I should start in on bundling up the contents of my fridge and packing off to Scott's.
Then there was a click and a buzz and the whir of the air conditioner kicking in. My radio clock flashed midnight and a light came on in the laundry room. Everything powered on, bringing with it the promise of homework to be done, the possibility of baking and the extinguished need to lend a neighborly hand, as people do in times of mild crisis.