What I learned during a recent power outage – 13 days

I was one of the lucky people who lost their power during Super Storm Sandy and a charming nor’easter that came into town during the last week of October. We did have Halloween and parents thanked me for the great Halloween effects we had on the front lawn – two downed trees and the light post. I do what I can to make kids smile as I give them enough sugary treats to keep them up for three days.

So while making my way through the war zone that was my neighborhood for 13 days, I took the opportunity to learn something from all this destruction. And it may not be what you might think.

1)   You know that list of big lies people throw around? You know the ones – Your check is in the mail and no, those jeans don’t make your ass look big? Well, the power companies have given us a new gem: “your power will be back on by 5 PM tomorrow.” Oh really?

2)   I discovered that I am a city chic – through and through. I decided that if it doesn’t involve me wearing 3” heels, I am not going to do it. Ever. I had to start (under protest) Diva – our temperamental generator, but she didn’t want to stay on for me. So some days, I was struggling three to four different times in the wind, rain and snow trying to get that bitch to start. The day after the nor’easter slammed us, I was out trying to bribe Diva with some premium gas. On my third try, I ended up in a snow bank. My application to join the teamsters was rejected.

3)  My smart phone’s battery was dying. Okay, I charged it one time too many. And this was my only form of communication with the outside world and it could be as temperamental as Diva, the red-nosed generator. So I went to the phone store and was told, “We can’t carry all the batteries for all the phones in the Milky Way. Try Amazon.” I guess no one told that jolly fella that 99.9% of us could not get on the internet. I went to Facebook and asked for someone to buy me a battery. I was so touched by the offers to help. So many great women (men, where were you?) just wrote – send me your address and I will get you a battery. I got one from Georgia and Cheryl, my friend, I want to publicly thank you. What a peach. (Insert groan. I deserve it).

4)   On the flip side of good people, there were those fools who thought they were entailed to jump the gas lines. The sense of entitlement has no place on a gas line. Scratch that – it has no place everywhere. But that is another blog. I heard of people being stabbed and there were other fun after school activities that happened while people panicked and thought the world was coming to an end and that getting into heaven was contingent on having a full tank of gas. WTF.

5)    Dirty dishes belong in a dishwasher. The next time this happens, and it will happen again, I shall bury my dishes, flatware and pots and pans in the neighbor’s backyard.

6)   Trying to apply makeup in a cold and dark war zone can leave one looking like Heath Ledger’s The Joker from the Batman movie.

7)  I think playing cards is evil and should be outlawed. This is coming from someone who only plays to win and being beaten by a neighbor’s son is not socially acceptable.

8)   Speaking of neighbors, I know some of ours and then I like to be left alone. The 13 days without power brought everyone out and the red lacquered claws came out ready to cut anyone who got it the way. I could not believe how much people gossiped and plotted against each other. It was like being in Peyton Place, but without the sex.

9)  I got to go work on my Sandy Five – I thought with all the shaking from the cold, I would have lost weight.

10)  The night before we got out power back, I dreamt that the teenage boy who lives across the street had to go in for a colonoscopy. I know it was just symbolic about how I think about the Long Island Power Authority – just so full of it and you made people so miserable and stressed out because you just didn’t want to get with the program. We pay your salaries and we keep you in business. Please, Governor Cuomo, don’t make us feel like we were living in a third world state again. We live in New York. We could have kicked Sandy out with our New York attitude if we weren’t freezing.

power outage

Photo Credit: Sara Walsh