Monday, December 18, 2006

The Great Christmas Blackout of 2006 Part 1: Stranded

You know that is how the news media going to word the headlines, either that or something along the lines of "post-apocalyptic experience in the NW". There is nothing like a good power outage to bring people the realization of our dependence on electricity. One wonders what will happen when something like a solar flare destroys the eletrcial grid of North American continent. Will life just halts? Something to think about.

We had a huge wind storm (didn't know such things existed) on Thursday, Dec 14th. The weatherman ranted about 40 mph winds. I went to bed like a perfectly normal day and woke up to .... nothing. No lights, no heat, no tv and most importantly no internet. I figure well, it will come back in a couple of hours (HA!). I decided to go to work. There MUST be power at work ( and internet). Fortunately, the bus came on time which is sure indicator of the normalcy of life. I decided to call the shuttle service at work just to check if they are open but they are perpetually busy. hmm... It also doesn't help that the bus had to make 5 detours around trees and down powerlines and skipped half its stop.

I started to get a little anxious but what can you do? I am on the last bus out so I am basically stuck until 6 pm at night where the bus starts running back towards my house in the boonies. I got to work, the first thing saw is this guy I know walking back towards the bus stop. He helpfully informed me that there are no power at work and to go home. Home, that place where there is no heat and no internet? Not to mention no bus. To add insult to injury I realized my cellphone battery is dead. So I am stuck in the middle of nowhere, with no phone, and can't go home either. What to do? what to do?

Well, like all good old Americans that are in a bind and need some place to go, I decided to go to the mall. There is gonna be light and heat at the mall! (and internet). So I hopped on the next bus (which is still running remarkably on schedule, hats off to them) to downtown Bellevue, where the biggest mall is. By then, I realized, that there is basically no power on the entire east side of county, so the trip to downtown Bellevue took 3 hours instead of 15 as we crawled through intersection after intersection without traffic lights. I must give another mention to how wonderful Americans are at following traffic rules. If this happened in China, this is what would have happened:

But instead, everyone moved in perfect calmness and order.
After three hours I am there!! I am saved.. except.. there was no power at mall, or downtown Bellevue for that matter except for this 2 block radius that amazingly, contained a restaurant, a movie theatre and some really expensive shops that nobody goes to! So I ended up watching The Fountain, which turned out not to be the romantic epic film with Hugh Jackman like they advertised but some weird psychedelic film about death and some tree. Highly disappointed.
I was finally able to catch a express bus home around 6 pm, of course everything is pitch dark by then, and I ended up calling M using the bus driver's phone. He took pity on me after seeing how have to climb through the dark hill for 40 minutes to get back to my 30 degree house so I can sleep. M of course has been at an office party all this time since they have power in downtown Seattle. grr. Just to end my perfect day, she arrived home 2 minutes after I climbed into my house and found a flashlight so I can show her way in. -_-!

1 comment:

Kabitzin said...

HAHAHA you watched the Fountain?!?!?! I read the summary of that movie and I can just imagine your disappointment. I had an experience like this when Williamsburg was hit by a bad hurricane, and it really sucked.