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2003-08-15 @ 12:23 a.m.
Electrical chaos 2003

OK, so the power went out for 50 million freakin' people. I live right in the middle of the offending power grid area.

I was talking to my aunt at her house about something that had made me mad a couple of hours earlier when it happened. I had been walking around like a power generator myself, either ready to overheat or melt down.

The only thing we noticed or didn't notice was that the air conditioning went off. Then my uncle came in, faintly distraught (his feelings meter is only about 2 digits apart. Mine is like 450), that the TV had gone off and his golf program was in question.

Then we called around to see if we were the only ones, and my aunt's neighbors were out too. My uncle then got his handy dandy battery operated radio and we started hearing the news that the power was off from NYC to Canada to Detroit. About 2 minutes after that, 4 Air Force jets screamed over my aunt's house (she lives practically at the end of the runway of our airport). That immediately made me think TERRORIST ATTACK. New York is being bombed. Those fighter jets are going down to fight Al Kaida guys hanging off the Statue of Liberty.

I got apprehensive as you might guess (I'm always at Code Orange, even when I'm sleeping), but my aunt just got up and chopped tomatoes and cucumbers for a salad. They were going to be bar-b-quing outside anyways, so the loss of power was no big deal, except when my uncle stuck his head in the door and told my aunt to close the refrigerator door. You're...letting...the...cold...air...out. That's my uncle at the peak of his emotions. He's always reminded me of wiry Robert DeNiro in looks, but is not like him in any other way. Just a former bus driver who now dotes on grandkids.

I was actually on my way to my Mom's house. She had had a doctor's appointment. When I got there she was sitting on her apartment porch. She had been in the doctors examining room when the power went out. Just after a pap smear. Glad they didn't lose any tools when the lights went out. We called a bunch of restaurants to see who was open. Our town did have some electricity, but not the suburbs. We finally went to a restaurant that specializes in turkey. Turkey sandwiches, Turkey soup, and I swear to God, Turkey cocktails. I passed on that one.

But what was funny was when I walked into the restaurant, thinking it would be jammed, I walked around the front of a mini-van idling at the door. And a bunch of Amish guys were getting out. Total Amish guys. Huge brimmed straw hats. Pixie haircuts. Thick sensible shoes. And they just kept pouring out of this van. I sort of got trapped in the middle of them as I was trying to get to the door. It was like an elaborate sight gag, where 28 Amish guys get out of a 6 seater mini-van. It was like the movie "Witness" as directed by the Farrelly Brothers. My mom came in after me since she was parking the car, and I could not stop laughing. Every last Amish guy had filed into the men's room and she only saw the last one. I'm not sure what set me off laughing. I think being trapped amongst them and having them look like movie extras did me in.

Driving home with the power off was an interesting experience. It was so random. You'd go down one street and half would be on, the other half off. One residential street had street lights on, but the houses were out. I went through one small town and the entire town was out, but the one street light in town was on. I hit another stoplight which was both green and red at the same time. Sometimes I would miss stoplights because, well, it was dark. A couple of intersections had a glass in them. From earlier accidents I guess. Saw a couple of actual car accidents. But if you saw how people would act at large intersections. It was ridiculous. Instead of letting one person at a time go, some times like 5-6 cars would slip through. I guess they all "imagined" the light was green at the same time. It was a freakin' mess.

I called my gay friend in NYC when I got home. I was concerned he got stuck in an elevator or subway and called right after it started. But both of his phone numbers were ringing busy in a weird, fast way. I finally got ahold of him tonight around 9. We were both still without power. He said people who were coming out of buildings in NYC when the power went out, had a look like "Oh No, another World Trade Center, we're being attacked" look. G was there for the WTC attacks too. They were a little scarier.

But he was having a good time. He had survived the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco and always has plenty of candles and batteries on hand, as well as a battery operated TV. He said it was weird to look out his 15th floor window and only see darkness. He could see a few candles here and there in windows. A little later, I think out of sheer boredom, he said he started to "communicate" with the other apartment refugees across the street by flashing flashlights on their building. And then they'd flash back. At least I think that's what he said.

But my power finally came on I think around 9:30. I was thrilled and immediately tuned into CNN and MSNBC to see what was going on. I'm a news junkie. And Manhattan, where my friend lives was still out. Poor G.

Guess there were no shows on Broadway tonight either.

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Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty