Some people, like me, embraced the unexpected darkness. Others fought back, laughed in the face of the power outage. So what if there is no electricity, no gasoline, and we're not allowed to drink our water? We won't let this get us down! I saw some fireworks being set off. One house with a generator had strung christmas lights in their bushes, and they actually had a large Santa Claus glowing merrily in their yard. ("It is better to light a single life-size plastic Santa Claus than to sit and curse the darkness.") Orange extension cords stretched one house to another, even crossing the street, as one guy tried to share what power he could generate.
When I woke up this morning, I began by finishing the novel (Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner) I'd nearly finished during my candlelight vigil the night before. I put it down, satisfied, then looked around. Reading a good book always inspires me to write. I was a little tired of the power outage. I wanted my computer back. I wanted to write in my journal. I wanted to know what was going on. Having no portable radio, I sat in my car and listened to the news for awhile. They predicted that it might last all weekend.
I saw a bunch of my neighbors relaxing across the street, so I wandered over and joined them. I tend to be away from my house a lot, and when I am home I basically keep to myself. I'm very shy. I really just talk to my neighbors on holidays and national emergencies. It was cool, hanging out with them, chatting away, getting to know them better.
My stove is electric, and my refrigerator was quite warm by then. I could only eat food that could be stored, prepared, and eaten at room temperature, which left me with not very much. Since they were predicting we might be out until Monday, I decided to go for another walk and find some food. Finding room-temperature food is hard though! Obviously I'm not very suited to preparing for emergencies, because when I returned home (soaking wet, because it had rained of course, it always rains when I want to go for a walk), I had purchased the following: 2 newspapers, 1 bag of chocolate chip cookies, 1 can of pineapple, 1 bag of sweet-and-salty nut mix, and 1 bag of marshmallows (a neighbor had been talking about lighting a bonfire). I had some cans of tuna already at home, plus water and diet coke. I figured I was set.
I read some more, eating some nut mix and cookies. I talked with my neighbors some more. At some point it occurred to me that I had not spoken to or heard from anybody outside of my block for almost 24 hours. Without the internet, television, or even a convenient radio, I felt very isolated. It felt faintly like one of those day-after-the-nuclear-holocaust movies, and I started to wonder if anybody else was alive out there! My land-line worked, so I started calling people. The first 4 people I called didn't answer, and I started to feel abandoned. Finally, my mom answered her phone. It was nice to hear a familiar voice. Later, I talked to a few of my friends, and I felt better. I talked to my sister, who was grilling all of the hamburger in her freezer. She invited me over for a burger, and I had to admit that sounded better than pineapple.
When I arrived at her house, her power had returned! When I arrived at my house, around 8pm, my power had returned!! The 28 hour ordeal was over. Okay, so it wasn't an ordeal...it was really quite nice and peaceful. I have had my power out for longer periods of time. The weird thing about this time was its totality. Usually I can just go to a friend's house, or a movie, or the library, and not worry about it. I know I can go out to eat. I know there are places with AC if it gets too hot. But not this time, because the whole area was down! The whole north-east US, at one point....50 million people, from what my car radio said last night. Wow.