|Lights . . .
||[Aug. 16th, 2003|01:58 pm]
|[||In the Moment
I woke up Thursday afternoon at 4PM. Heidi rested by me . . . I got up, lurched to the bathroom, and relieved myself . . .
As I washed my hands, at around 4:15PM, the lights went out in the War Bunker.
Actually, the power went out, flicked back on, then out . . . for good.
Pissed, I was. Heidi had told me of the need to check my LJ.
I sat down on the War Bunker couch, flexed my ever-painful back, and waited.
Never did it occur to me that this was something bigger than my local area.
In our area, they're replacing the neighborhood connections to the main water artery. Since the water immediately dropped to half pressure while washing my hands, I figured those chuckleheads had done something wrong, and it was a matter of an hour before the power would be restored.
Waited, I did. I waited and waited and waited.
Finally, I took a shower. Heidi suggested we go get me some coffee. She disappeared outside . . .
I finished my shower, towel tossed to the tub.
Heidi told me the whole eastern continent had lost power.
So this was not just a neighborhood blackout, I thought. Sure enough, the radio said literally every power source blinked out two hours prior, to the moment I washed my hands.
I was washing my hands when the lights fizzled.
We sat around the house. I had leftover pizza in the fridge, so after that 2 hours, I figured with the reports of 3 days or more, I should not let precious food go to waste.
Day turned into twilight, then night. Finally, the house cooled. We had candles, and I lit them for a romantic, if not focused, evening with Heidi.
I went outside for a cigarette or three at 3AM. By now, the neighbors had a generator running to save their fridge contents. They were the only ones in the neighborhood who were attempting this, and the generator was right next to my room, so it wasn't totally quiet . . . until I heard the generator die.
With the peaceful chirping of the crickets, I had never viewed such a wonderful nightscape in the Detroit area. With literally no lights in the Metro Area, the sky looked as it did in the pre-electric days. The moon was rather bright, and it glowed with a bit of perfect glare, bright, slowly fading across the night sky to the West, to total dark. The moon drowned out a bit of the starscape, but the regular stars showed themselves in blazing defiance of the moon's light.
I wished the world would never have power restored.
I went to bed, tired of leafing through the acidic, witty, and utterly powerful words of Hunter S. Thompson's letters, first volume. As I closed my eyes, the neighbor ran out, now fully aware of the unpowered fridge. The startup of the gas generator's lawn-mowerish cycle eventually lulled me to sleep.
Daytime. Heidi reported to me that she was an 'essential worker' at Hell. She had to brave the strange 4 way stops at the major intersecctions to get to work.
Food. There was no food. No stores were open. I planned on going to the store that Thursday evening. No such food existed in the house. We had . . . crackers, sunflower seeds, and a box of cereal. The food supply dwindled.
They didn't have to tell me yesterday that the water supply was probably not safe to drink. I had become enthralled with survival at an early 7th grader age, reading The Stand: Uncut by Stephen King. After that, I knew the water would probably be bad, but I'd never felt the need to hole up in a compound with bunches of assault weapons and other weapons and tin cans of irradiated tuna. That will come someday, but this was not the day.
The water bottle supply we had was sufficient for 4 days, 20 days if we were going to be conservative. I had stocked up on cigarettes before the blackout. We'd be okay . . .
Except, the heat. It was the hottest days yet in the area. And, massive thunderstorms loomed on the way. I figured there would also be a 9 scale earthquake on an Ohio fault line, thus making way for the massive floods, plus the 'pants down' attack from would-be looters and terrorists.
I then experienced the phone line power going dead.
That prior evening, I talked with my mom on vacation up north. Consumers Power had restored most of their clients' energy that evening, and most were not affected. Meanwhile, DTE (our area) had damage to their plants from the outage, and they were going to take a while.
Heat. No food. No gas stations. Limited water.
It was also Friday, August 15th, my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom . . .
Up north, I could bask in the great power and cooler air. The place was about an hour away, not technically North (South of Flint), but it would do. I planned quickly, as the sweat dripped off my brow like I'd been in the heavy rain.
After checking to make sure all the important appliances were unplugged, and the circuit breakers were all shut down, I began to close up the windows. Then, I remembered that the DVD movie I rented was in the player.
BLAST! I sat there and read the manual. There was no emergency eject feature! Short of prying open the DVD tray, there was no way. I would deal with Blockbuster scum later, I figured.
I packed up my gear and left.
With 3/4 of a tank full with an economy car, I was in no danger. The drive was a lucky one, which only took me 40 minutes over the normal drive time.
My cousins were not so lucky. They hit the sudden surge of cars when other gas stations were announced on generators, able to pump gas. They also had to stop for gas, as their tanks were low. They arrived after 3 hours of drive time, almost double my time.
My mom was rejoiced to see me. I met up with Heidi after work . . . she barely made it up here with minimal gas left in her tank. Our family celebrated my mom's birthday in the swanky part of town up here, and I dined on ahi tuna, cooked medium. It was a delicious treat, but I felt rather guilty after knowing how many Detroiters had no water or food.
Last night, I fell asleep in air conditioning, watching Dead Alive, a most interesting film that I first saw at a USC-related independent movie house in Los Angeles. I laughed again as the priest yelled, "I kick ASS for the LORD!" and proceeded to turn the zombies into kung fu battering targets.
Today, reports are that the power is back on in the city in most areas. I plan to travel back to clean out the melted ice cream and other fridge and freezer messes. I'm not looking forward to it. Yet, it could have been worse.
And if it was worse, I would have welcomed it.