Sterling Ambivalence (sterlingnorth) wrote,
Sterling Ambivalence
sterlingnorth

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Light Out, Everyone!

Well, it was approaching 2:15 that night. I was getting comfortable on the living room sofa, about to go to sleep while the Cartoon Network making soothing sounds in the background. All of a sudden, with a blinding flash of light and a loud pop, all of the lights go out. With all this talk about Cold War shadow governments, was it really unreasonable for my first thoughts to be "OH MY GOD, WE'RE UNDER A NUCLEAR ATTACK!!!"?

After I finished praying to every god and goddess ever conceived (Yes Karl, even Gaia), I finally go about to investigate. And here's our first handy tips...

1. Always have a flashlight by your bed. If the power goes out. You may not know this but it gets real dark at night.

2. Keep your house clean. Yes, mom! You were right. Cleaning the house is always a good idea.

3. Hi Opal

As I searched for something that emits light, I tripped over the following: old newspapers and magazines, blank VCR tapes, a rolling chair, a coffee table, my laptop carrying bag (fortunately the laptop wasn't inside), my boots, my jeans, and the carpet. Finally, I found something that would let me see... my cell phone with that green backlight. Thus, now I'm flicking my phone open and close to keep that light lit, so I can find something that will light up more than three centimeters ahead. Finally, I find a portable light, which leads me to our next handy tips...

4. Have batteries for your portable lights and flashlights.

After fumbling with batteries and portable light via the glow of the negligible glow of the cell phone for twenty minutes. I finally had enough light to call for information.

5. Have the emergency numbers placed somewhere, anywhere in the house! Especially to the maintenance man who is on call at night.

After bearing the shame of calling 411 to find out what number to call for Dominion Virginia Power, began the fun, fun game of phone tag! After playing touch-tone keyboarding for twenty minutes (To report a power outage, key in the tune to "Mary Had a Little Lamb"...), I was finally allowed to speak to an operator. To which she told me, "I'm sorry, we can't do anything about that with you. The apartment manager needs to call in for you." I'd guess that this would be about 3am, but I didn't have a clock to check.

Calling the "apartment manager" at three am is likely to be an exercise in futility, since they have gone home already. OK, so I call the rental office anyway. After listen to 5 minutes (!!) of answering machine spiel, I finally get instructions to call an 800 number in emergencies.

At the 800 number (to an office in Silver Spring, MD), we once again play touch-tone keyboarding to get to another operator. I get word that this woman will call the maintenance who will then call the power company, to finally call someone out here. Let's look at this for a second. To report a power failure in a apartment complex in Falls Church, VA at night if I don't know the nightman on-call...

I have to call a person in Silver Spring...
so Silver Spring can call back to maintenance in Falls Church, VA...
so maintenance-Falls Church can call Richmond, VA to report outage...
so Richmond can call office in Alexandria...
to send a crew over here to investigate.
Brilliant way to run a railroad.

After that, I went out and took a walk. The power didn't come back on until 4:30am.
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