Saturday, August 16, 2003

The Blackout of 2003

I was at work in North Olmsted when, at about 4:15pm, the lights dimmed for about 30 seconds. After checking the circuit breakers, which were fine, everything returned to normal for about a minute. Then the power flared and died completely. So, I stepped outside and saw that traffic signals were out as far as I could see.

I went inside to use the phone: dead. Since our phone system is tied to the electric, we couldn't make phone calls. So I tried my cell: nothing. I tried calling locally and even tried my father in California: nothing. We were pretty much cut off from the outside world. So, I went back outside and turned on my car radio - most of the stations were dead. Finally I was able to get an out of town station which reported that New York, Detroit, and Cleveland were without power. Naturally, I feared the worst.

I went back into the store and told the staff we were shutting down immediately. I slowly made my way home. Traffic was slow but there were no accidents--Cleveland drivers are generally very courteous (take THAT, Boston!). The radio had one of those "shock jocks" or whatever they call them railing about another terrorist attack. Then a news update came about the REAL cause of the power outage, and the DJ had to eat his words.

I got home about 5:30 and Mark got home around 7:00. For dinner, we cooked out on the grill, had some neighbors over, and generally had a very enjoyable evening. We did something a lot of neighbors (including us) don't usually have enough time to do: we talked for hours and had a few laughs. Since the street lights weren't on, we took advantage of the near total darkness to check out Mars and catch the tail end of the meteor shower.

Well, the power came on at 7:00 this morning. We had unplugged most appliances, so it was on for an hour & a half before we even noticed!

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