“The Blackout of 03”
One More Reason I Hate the News Media
Well, if you haven’t heard by now, New York and most of the eastern sea board, lost power on Thursday at 4:10 EST(Eastern Standard Time) because Ohio can’t run their power plants. It was a bit of an ordeal, being that New York is a city heavily dependent on the juice to operate and the lack of it made many parts of my life a little more complicated.
I was at work when it happened. My computer monitor flickered and then went off, My second computer monitor flickered and went off, then my computer went off. For a split second I wondered what I had kicked, or which key command I must have just pushed to bring shut down my computer, but then I noticed everybody else also was looking at a blank monitor. There were the expected “Shit!” and “Aw’Man?!” but after checking with the entire floor and noticing the lights pulsing we realized, this was no tripped surge breaker. Just to let you guys know, there was an instant where I freaked out because I couldn’t understand how we would get down to the ground floor without the elevator.
*I hadn’t used the stairs in some time.*
I decided to split early and get out of the office and back to brooklyn as quickly as possible. Although, trying to get ahold of Diane using the telephone turned out to be a bit of a problem, not because the phone lines were down, but because we only have cordless phones that run on… electricity. My cell phone, however, was one of the few that worked (Thank you Verizon) and I called Diane and eventually got through. We planned our escape from the city.
With Saki our intern, who was staying with friends in Connecticut and unable to get back because of the train outages, we began our hot walk back to Brooklyn with another Million people. It was strangely a very fulfilling experience. Our reliance on electrical power has removed my understanding of distance. Every morning I go down a set of stairs onto a platform, I take a cylindrical tube for 40 minutes into manhattan, and walk up another set of stairs in a completely new borough. You never get a sense of where you are in relation to where you were. As a result you always feel slightly dis-empowered relying on technology to get you home.
Thursday was not an ideal day, by any stretch of the imagination, but it rely wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Sure, I live in a two story walk up, I don’t watch television, and am a fit 25 year old; these may skew my perspective some. I hope this blackout was a wake up call for a lot of people to instead of coming home, turning on their air conditioner, and zoning out in front of the television, maybe we should spend a bit more time talking with the people around us. The blackout taught me what its like not to hear televisions blasting from my neighbors, it taught me that in order to have a community people have to communicate with each other, and most importantly sometimes a little sweat never hurt anybody.
(Please check out some pictures of the blackout in my newly updated photolog.)