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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Power Outage 

Last night the power went out. A massive line of thunderstorms passed through D.C. at the start of the evening rush hour, knocking out power to a lot of stoplights on my way home, as well as to our house. Power lines even came down across the Beltway, closing down all lanes for half an hour or so.

Evelin was feeling worn out -- probably a side effect of the MTX -- so she came home early. When I got home, the lights had been out for an hour and she was reading by candlelight.

On the downside (yep, losing power actually counts as fun, so long as it doesn't happen too often or stay out too long), our neighbor fired up his generator a little bit before I got home, breaking the quiet of the blackout. Maybe he has a sick old aunt who lives with him or something, and she requires the electricity to breathe. However, I don't think that's actually the case. I think he has a whole house generator just because he wants to watch TV or something.

Of course this means opening the windows in hopes of getting a little cooler air also invites in all his noise. In the past, it's kept us from sitting on the porch to enjoy the thunder and lightning (this has happened several times now).

Trying to go to sleep, Evelin was able to focus on the chirping of the crickets and the rustle of leaves in the wind. I wasn't feeling so generous.

Irritated, I took a walk through the neighborhood. There were people milling around, kids playing flashlight tag, candle-lit living rooms, and lots of dark, quiet houses. About two blocks in most directions, the power was still on with the normal hum of air conditioning. That's what a blackout should be like, not the roar of one diesel generator keeping a single house lit while everyone else is spending a quiet night talking or reading or playing a game (or even blogging to a Palm) by candlelight.

At some point the generator shut down. I don't know if it was shut off or if it ran out of fuel. A little before 3:00 a.m. the power came back on.

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