August 21, 2000

Coping with power loss proves daunting

Josh Renaud

A massive electrical storm blew through St. Louis last Thursday evening and knocked out the power of every house on our side of the street.

It's always a bit eerie to lose electricity, especially in these days of technology. Nevertheless, I decided I would comfort my dog, who is deathly afraid of thunderstorms, and then go to sleep. Everything would be normal in the morning.

Alas, I woke up in a world of darkness. My room is in the basement and the power was still out. It dawned on me that I couldn't check my email and - worst of all - I wouldn't be able to play my daily round of "Global War," which is an online version of RISK that I play regularly.

"Blast it all," I thought. "Now the other guy is going to be able to take Australia away from me!"

It was true. The loss of Australia could be my downfall.

I went upstairs, ready to eat breakfast. Thankfully the milk was still cold.

Without air conditioning, the house was hot, so I had to open all the windows. There wasn't enough light to read the newspaper, so I got a flashlight to help me out. I later had to use the flashlight to illuminate the bathroom so I could take a shower.

When my morning ritual was complete, I went off to work.

When I came home nearly 12 hours later, the power was still off.

I was in no mood for it anymore. Friday had been a tough day. It was my first real deadline period of the school year as the head honcho at the newspaper. My head was throbbing and I was hungry. No power meant no food, and my family had already eaten, so I went out to my car and got ready to go to Dairy Queen. I could hear somebody running a diesel generator down the street.

I came back home and my mom told me the power company had assured us that power would be restored by 9:45 p.m. I went to bed confident I would awake in time to turn on my computer and steal Australia back before my opponent could log on.

But it wasn't meant to be. I woke up and the power was still off.

It was Saturday morning and my folks had thrown all the dairy products out so I had to buy donuts.

On my way to work that morning, I ran over three electrical cords. Several benevolent families were sharing power with their less fortunate counterparts across the street.

By that evening, power had been restored and we could again refrigerate our food in peace.

It's kinda funny, but I couldn't help but compare this situation with the Y2K scare last winter. What would have happened if Y2K had actually shorted out everything on the planet, leaving us without the "necessities" we hold so dear?

I get the feeling that me and some of my neighbors need to learn a lesson about priorities. But if there's some way you could keep the electricity on while you do it, God, we'd appreciate it.

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.

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