Saturday, December 16, 2006

African-American Friday

Twenty-four hours ago, I, like everyone else in the area, lost power, in what was the worst storm in more than a decade, leaving four people dead and one million people without power. It's estimated to be two to three more days until power is restored in many areas. One of the nice things about living near Microsoft, I guess, is that the state of your electricity gets a high priority.

Yesterday, I awoke to a very cold apartment, around fifty degrees, and still no power from the night before. So, I headed in to work, where at least there would be emergency heat and lighting. We actually had quite the little party going in our building's atrium; maybe three dozen people at one point, plus whoever else was in other areas of the building. I broke out the emergency stash of games (Cathedral, Lost Cities) and we and our lukewarm beverages were entertained for a few hours. A little after 2:00, three of us got into a car, ignored the reports of "parking lot" traffic (which we were largely able to avoid), and headed to Bellevue, based on rumors that part of Bellevue had electricity.

On the way, after a couple dozen intersections with no lights, the driver nominated that today be the new Black Friday of 2006, but perhaps with a more politically-correct name to distinguish it from the day after Thanksgiving: African-American Friday. I thought that had a better ring than "Four dead, one million without power." (That's just like a white guy, too—always blaming problems on the blacks!)

So, we got to Bellevue, and it seemed that only two blocks in the city had electricity: the ones next to Puget Sound Energy. This included two Starbucks across the street from each other, and possibly one more a little down the street. We found one extremely busy Thai restaurant, and basked in the heat and light for close to two hours before heading back to a darker, chillier Microsoft. At that point I headed home, deciding to get ready for today's full day at Microsoft, and then running out the battery on my tablet watching Family Guy. I headed to sleep at about 6:00.

And then, at midnight, twenty-three hours later, the power came back on. I couldn't get to sleep, now that there was light coming in from outside, the heater was going full-blast, and I had just slept six hours, so here I am.

Personally, I survived the storm pretty well. I'll need to throw out a few things in the fridge, and it seems that the power adapter for my monitor is fried. This is strange, because it was plugged into a UPS, and thinking that the one at 1:00 was just another one of the short-lived power outages I'd been having all night, I kept playing for a minute or so into the outage. I don't know how it managed to die, but I've had the thing for half a decade, and I guess it's had a good run. Hopefully it's just the adapter (it doesn't light up when I plug it in anymore), and the one that my monitor uses at work is compatible.

A less rational part of me hopes that my current monitor is busted so I'll have to buy a nice 24-inch one to replace it. Isn't that stupid how we think like that sometimes?

Some people didn't survive the storm so well. I counted twelve large trees that were uprooted just in the mile between my place and work. One of them tore up a bunch of sidewalk tiles, and crashed through the wall of an apartment on the way. I hope those people are okay. There's debris everywhere... after sunrise when I head into work in search of a monitor power adapter, I'm going to try to snap some shots.

And that's how I survived African-American Friday.

1 comment:

Louise said...

*grumble*

It's currently Monday at 8:51 am. We are still without power. Everything in my fridge will be going in the garbage.

I wish I had taken my camera out on Friday to take pictures - because we had power lines down all up and down SR 527.

*sigh* I want my power back!