Friday, September 9, 2011

The Blackout.


Where were you when this happened, and what was your story? These questions I ask to the individuals who were without power from 3:40pm-12:00am in the San Diego area and other parts of Southern California and the south corner of this part of the world. Me? I was in my apartment reading a book when it happened, and at first I didn't think much of it but then as time passed, I grew a little more concerned. Then after my cell phone's battery went dead I was completely cut off, because I wasn't going to drive somewhere with everyone else driving around that didn't know what was going on without any power to traffic signals. Since it was so hot, I couldn't focus and read, so I used my i-pod to listen to music until it ran out of battery power. I then got my old discman-walker that I hadn't really used since High School and put batteries in it and listened to CDs. What follows written below is what I wrote and thought last night during the blackout, although being the writer I am I couldn't help but make it sound....somewhat fictional like. It is obvious though from when I start writing to when I begin to lose my fictional like writing and favor a more straightforward approach.

September 8th, 2011. As I lay here on the carpet and write this by candle light I feel like the writers of old. However, I'm certain that they didn't have a CD player/discman-walker with music playing through headphones that was battery operated. Nor do I believe that their candles were scented. One thing is for certain though, they didn't have air conditioning to fight off the blistering heat. Nor did they have refrigerators to keep everything frozen and cool. The internet and computers did not exist yet to find out immediately why things were happening. People had to wait days if not weeks for news of any kind at the best of times. I wonder if they ever felt isolated or disconnected to the world? In this day and age, Americans have grown comfortable with having not only all of their needs at their fingertips but also their wants and desires. I'm not to be excluded in this whatsoever. I was planning on editing some written material on my computer, after which I would have baked myself a frozen pizza and watched a film from Netflix. Sounds like a usual evening for an American writer perhaps. Instead I find myself with no electricity and no cell phone that works because I have no electricity to charge it with. The inside of my apartment is hot and filled with shadows cast from the candles. This is nothing compared to outside of my small one bedroom apartment. All is dark and people move about with flashlights beaming through the uncomfortable, foreboding darkness. Everyone speaks in hushed whispers as if something were about to happen. Windows of apartments across the way are eerily dark and vacant looking. Beyond that, the lights of the city appear doused  as if extinguished by a gust of wind. What has happened to cause this event? Has the mythological apocalypse begun? Have terrorists struck again so close to the anniversary of ten years ago? What is the government doing to solve this crisis? These questions race through my mind with barely enough time to ponder and process what is happening. I have asked God numerous times to restore the electricity, but my requests have gone unanswered, thus far. It is now 8:45pm and the electricity  has been out according to my estimates since 3:45pm. I keep hoping that the power will return before I fall asleep, but perhaps it will not. This shouldn't scare me so. After all in Wisconsin several times while growing up we went without electricity for long times because of tornadoes and thunderstorms. However, none of that has happened here and not knowing is infuriating and gnawing at me. I have heard people say that this phenomenon is widespread going far into other states, while others just mentioned it being confined  to San Diego County. I'm afraid of the uncertainty, of not knowing what's to blame for this colossal inconvenience. Yes that is what it is since I am not dying, but greatly inconvenient since I just went grocery shopping the other day. Inconvenient because I am dripping sweat and there is nothing I can do about it except drink water and fan myself. Granted things could be much worse, but I like so many are used to having everything we need and desire right when we want it. And we eventually get very irritated  if the crisis isn't fixed quickly if there is no explanation given. So here I sit writing trying to amuse myself and pass the time while I listen to love themes on my discman-walker that I haven't really used since high school. Checking in again with the watch, I find that it is 9:18pm and time continues to pass by slowly. My agitation is steadily growing, and I am asking myself questions about how this could have happened, and wondering what someone is trying to do to fix it. Despite the setting of the sun the interior of my apartment remains quite hot which is further fueling my frustrations. I really wish I knew what was happening and why; my concern continues to mount. All I'm saying is there better be a damn good explanation why all of this happened for so long after all of the dust settles.               -End Log

After that point I couldn't focus writing anymore. I then got the brilliant idea to go out on my porch and sit since it was much cooler. Eventually I got a blanket and laid down on it while I listened to my music, it was actually quite lovely, even though I was laying on cement, but it was so much more cooler. I drifted in and out of sleep for about an hour and a half. Around 11pm I went to bed and about an hour later I believe the power went back on, and an hour after that I awoke to a bunch of shouting coming from outside. At that point I saw my alarm clock was on. I then directed a fan on me, turned it on and returned to sleep. Thus the inconvenient power outage was over, and as I read the newspaper and other reports from this morning I hear that it happened most likely because of an employee made a mistake. So much for a good explanation. Fear and the unknown can make one think and feel very odd things. I learned many things from this adventure, but most important I learned that I need something more to do if it ever happens again; like having crossword puzzles or word searches handy to make the time go by faster.


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