When power came back on here in Fort Myers after plunging us into...sunlight for the last 3 hours, I quickly checked the Fox News online crawl to see if an Osama, Hussein or Barak was to blame for 4 million powerless Floridians. I then hoped over to CNN's website where the headline read "Massive Power Outages in Florida" followed by the I-Report banner asking "Are you there? Send us your photos!". This is CNN's method of creating community among the nation's gawkers, bystanders and slackers. Take a picture of the shooting rampage/plane wreckage/burning orphanage and upload it for free to CNN! Your grainy phone-cam footage of you fleeing the scene of the latest catastrophe can be right up there with other news like "Naomi Campbell hospitalized" and "Lindsay Lohan in rehab". News is fun!
But really how much fun would pictures of a blackout in Florida be? And should you be wasting battery life when the juice is running out? It's stupid when you think about it. Even when you don't.
When the power went out I had a funny feeling. After 10 minutes of no Internet, radio or TV, I called my sister Tiff and asked if anything was on the news. She accessed the Internet with her Palm at the Panera (which I wanted to say mostly for anyone who has recently been thawed from a block of ice they have been frozen in since the 40's - like Captain America - and will be blown away by the technological advances we have made). Tiff said nothing was reported online yet so I went back to sitting around doing nothing.
After an hour I figured I'd check out what post-apocalyptic Florida looks like and drove to the bank for reasons I will leave mysterious. The roads were jammed and police directed traffic at most major intersections since the lights were still out. I gave the less reasoned sister a call and this time Mandy surfed the web at work (Captain America is freaking out! What's a web?!?) and this time got the report I wanted. Major power outages in Florida. Mandy suggested I return home immediately as the looting would start shortly. I didn't have the energy to loot but I was headed home anyway - mostly because I wanted to eat the ice cream in the freezer before it melted. It's a traditional blackout event.
A call here and there revealed that the rumor mill does not run on electricity. A few suggestions as to the cause of the massive power outage included:
- Severe thunderstorms
- Too many people playing War Craft at the same time
- A dump truck backing into a power pole in Juno, FL
- Fidel's final revenge
Honestly I thought I had caused it from running the dishwasher and the Tivo at the same time.
Which brings me to my last comment. My shows aren't going to be recorded on Tivo
I can survive a few hours. But what happens when the power stays out. For days.
My cell phone was on one bar. My laptop was useless. We just got back from Fort Lauderdale last night and the fridge is empty. Truck's gas tank is half full. The banks were closed. The grocery stores were closed. It wouldn't take long before things descended into chaos. We're trained to be prepared for hurricanes. We usually have time to procrastinate and forget the things we need to survive days after a hurricane. But something like this is so sudden. We are so used to flipping the cell open and making a call. Opening the fridge and having cold food. Turning on the computer and accessing the Internet. For all the technology we have developed to make our lives more convenient. In a flip of a switch it can be anything but.