A few evenings ago, I was seated in front of my computer, and my wife in front of her TV, when the house went black. There were no winds or heavy snows to take the lines down, though it was raining cats and dogs. My laptop was plugged in, but the battery was up so it didn’t go dead, so I could use the light from the screen to help me find the flashlight that I always keep within reach. My wife fumbled in the darkness of the next room and found her lantern-style emergency light before I even got there. A peek out the front door toward the utility pole in our front yard showed a grey pickup stopped there and some ill-defined shapes that looked out of place.
Putting on more clothes, and sticking my pistol in my pocket, I went out into the cold to check things out. As I walked the 200 feet to the road, it gradually became obvious that the pole was broken off about eight feet up, and that the remainder was lying in the road, complete with our security light. In the pickup sat the neighbor from six houses out the road. He said that he was okay and had dodged a deer and went a bit too far out of the road. When asked, he said that he hadn’t banged his head, nor was hurt in any other way. I noticed that the wires were pressed hard against the driver’s door and asked if that was why he hadn’t tried to get out. He replied to the affirmative. I smelled no alcohol, so after checking to see if he had a phone (he didn’t), I asked if he wanted me to call 911 to get someone to help him out and he said yes. They were there and had him out within an hour and he walked home.
It continued to pour cold rain, but the power crew immediately began to clean up the mess and make arrangements to restore power. That involved setting a new pole, of course. It was obvious that the truck nearly got stopped before hitting the pole, since there wasn’t that much damage to the truck. Our power came on a little after midnight. The temperature in our house had been 72 when the power went off, and was still at 65 when it came back on. With all the insulation that I carry, I was fine, but my wife was “freezing to death.”
I noticed that my wife had used far more light sources than were needed during the dark hours before power was restored. Instead of just carrying a light with her, she put at least one lantern in every room, so she could just walk around as she wanted and not be in darkness. She does the same when the power is on, so we burn a little more juice than we would otherwise. I asked if she didn’t think we should save battery life and just use one light apiece, but she was having none of it. She seems to have grown more afraid of the dark in the past year. It makes me wonder how she’d handle a power outage that lasted several days, like the one we had last year.
The worst thing for her was the lack of a television. She was so worked up about it that she didn’t sleep all night long. I offered to read her something to keep her entertained, but she wasn’t interested. I finally went to bed at 1 a.m., while she stayed up to fret and stew. When the cable came back on at 10 a.m. the next morning, she dropped off like a baby at a lullaby. Not only would I hate to be that dependent on something, it makes me wonder how she would survive if the grid ever goes down for good. © 2013