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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor. She brought us a deluge today, wind and rain of epic proportions, but it stopped storming about half an hour after my power went out this afternoon. And then, just to make her point, she had the sun come out about twenty minutes before sunset plunged my whole world into darkness. (Then out of sheer perversity she had the storm start raging again.)

The power outage began at 3:45 pm. At least that gave me enough time to look for candles (I only had one, and it was burned almost all the way down), and a flashlight (no extra batteries). I waited until a little after four to call the utility company, but they weren’t very encouraging: “We’re aware of your outage and are just as puzzled as you are. Rest assured all of our repair crews are driving around in circles looking for something to do that might possibly help.”

Thanks for the non-information, PG&E. They invited me to call back for further updates, which they said would be available by 6:45 pm. I wasn’t going to wait that long, so I kept calling whenever I got antsy. At one point they told me to expect more news some time in the next four hours. Four hours! That’s when I went completely around the bend. I don’t like darkness in good times, but when I think it’s going to be dark forever, I freak.

The best light I had was the book light I bought for my Kindle. Unfortunately, the Kindle battery doesn’t hold a charge as well as it did when it was new, so I was afraid to leave it on for long, fearing I’d never be able to charge it again. But I did get some reading done during the Big Blackout, and that took my mind off the Big Blackout, just a little.

At exactly 6:45, just when my despair was cratering, the lights came back on. The timing coincided so well with the company’s “estimate” that it made me a little suspicious. But it doesn’t matter, because I’ll forget all about how bad those three hours were, right up until the next time this happens. It could be a long winter. I keep coming back to that.

12 December 2009

One remedy I tried during the Big Blackout was my ancient boombox. I never listen to local radio, but I needed to hear a human voice (other than my own, singing “Goodnight Sweetheart” over and over). The local “news” station had news all right. It had news from Washington and Baghdad and all the places with “Tiger Woods Slept Here” signs on them, but nothing from my hometown. Then it started playing the Art Bell program from May 11, 1995, but Art was talking about the Ebola virus, so I turned him off.

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