Sunday, October 30, 2011

Power Outage Randomness

Heavy wet snow from a rare October storm accumulated on tree limbs and power lines Saturday, leading to a power outage in parts of the mid-Atlantic and northeast, including my part of Maryland. I began writing this post three hours into the outage and here are my random thoughts, roughly in a timeline starting late Saturday afternoon.

- Every time I walk into another room this evening, I automatically flip a light switch, even though no lights are on.

- Cable and internet were out earlier in the day. Thirty minutes after they came back on the power went out. But my iPhone still connects to the internet.

- I am writing a draft of this with pen and paper. How odd.

- The outside temperature is in the 30s. It was 72 inside before the power went out and not it’s in the low 60s. I’m lucky to have a fireplace. I might be sleeping on my sofa tonight.

- Dinner tonight: cold jambalaya.

- Hmmm, I think I now know why farmers in the pre-electricity days went to bed so early. And why they had so many children.

- Drinking merlot by the dim glow of a battery lantern.

- I tried sleeping on the sofa in front of the fire. Probably slept in 20-minute segments. Just when I was finally sleeping deeply the lights came on. Now I’m wide awake at 2 a.m., but grateful the power is on again.

The 8 ½-hour power outage on my street was a major nuisance, but probably not any person’s fault. The cause was likely weather-related. The chilling thought in my head right now, however, is this: What would life be like for days or weeks if terrorists knocked out a regional power grid? We take abundant electricity on-demand for granted and we’re pissed off when it takes hours to restore power when it goes out. Eight hours in the dark should remind us how lucky we are to have what we have.

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