Well, most people know by now that the northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada have experienced a major blackout. Approximately fifty million people lost electricity yesterday afternoon and many still do not have it. This has become a major world news story, so you can read about it elsewhere (such as Wikipedia.) I will instead give you a personal account.
Yesterday around 4:15 I was at work typing up a document when the power went out. Somebody immediately called the NYCTA on a cellphone to notify them of the problem, when they stated thaty they too had no power. At this point a battery-operated radio was turned on and the story was heard. People began speculating all sorts of things ranging from “those Arabs are behind this” to a two-and-a-half-year-delayed Y2K bug.
I got to my mother's workplace around five o'clock by the ever-so-dangerous method of transportation of the automobile without traffic direction. I learned a traffic law that to me appeared to be common sense, but many drivers do not realize: in the event of a traffic light not functioning it should be treated as an all-way stop sign.
My mother and I left at around 5:15 after contacting my father, however my brother was unreachable. He had spent the previous day and the night at a friend's house in New Jersey and was en route home by train. I would have gone with him since he was visiting a mutual friend who we haven't seen since May, but I had work.
On the road home there were many abnormalities.
- First, the traffic lights were out and major intersections relied on police officers or volunteers to direct traffic (by this point people were on-site and working as opposed to my first road-trip since the power went out.)
- Second, there were much fewer people driving like the morons they are, but the few that continued to drive unsafely were amplified to create a very dangerous situation.
- Third, since most gas stations were not operable, a lane of the road was blocked off by the pack of cars trying to pull into the one working station.
- Fourth, I saw what was left of rather nasty accident with a car that was plowed into from the side when crossing an intersection crushing it and spraying glass across the road.
When I got home there was no power, but the one analog phone that recieved power from the phone line was some help. At ten to nine I stepped outside and saw that my neighbor's lights were on. My community was very lucky to have been one of the first to have power restored.
As the night progressed there was little communication from my brother and father, but the final arrangements were that
- my father spent the night in his office building...without sleep.
- my brother took a bus from Trenton to New York City. He then had some sort of combination of automotive and pedestrian transportation coming to a destination of my mom's co-worker place.
- Both were picked up this morning by my mother.
Today was supposed to be my last day of work, but this morning my mother woke me up to tell me to go to sleep—there was still no electricity at work. Yesterday surely was one strange last day of work.
In conclusion, my family is home, electricity is slowly returning throughout the area, and Cablevision is back up giving me the oppurtunity to post this. For anybody who does live around here and has gotten power back, I urge you to not use your air conditioner and turn off unneccessary lights.