Editorial - When the lights suddenly go out...When the lights go out, as they did in Alexandria’s Tabberts Addition after a transformer blew Sunday night, people realize, in a blink, just how much they rely on electricity. It courses through our everyday lives like blood through our veins.
When the lights go out, as they did in Alexandria’s Tabberts Addition after a transformer blew Sunday night, people realize, in a blink, just how much they rely on electricity. It courses through our everyday lives like blood through our veins.
Here’s a typical reaction:
What happened! Did I blow a fuse? Nope, everything in the fuse box checks out OK. Did I forget to pay my bill? Is someone playing a prank? Nope, the neighbor’s lights are off too.
You call ALP or law enforcement to report the outage and discover that the problem affects a large area in your neighborhood.
Oddly, there’s some comfort in knowing others are in the dark, too. Along with that, there’s envy toward the neighbors across the street whose houses are still ablaze with light. They don’t even know that anything is amiss across the street. They have no clue that you’re sitting in the growing darkness and silence of a powerless home.
You wait. Surely, the lights will come back on soon. You’ve got things to do, things to watch on TV, things to check out on the computer, laundry and other chores to finish. But the darkness lingers. You keep thinking, OK, any minute now, the lights will go back on. You will it to happen. But it’s still dark. Still silent.
Finally, acceptance kicks in that this is an outage that may last awhile. You know you’ve got to deal with it. You curse yourself for not having flashlights with fresh batteries all ready to go, for not having quick access to candles and matches or a battery-powered radio.
In the hunt for these items, you make the silly mistake of turning on a light switch before realizing how pointless that is. You make a joke of it and then a few minutes later when you walk into another darkened room, you do it again.
When the candles are giving off a soft glow and the flashlights are at hand, you feel a little better. Some normalcy returns. But it still feels odd, sitting there in the silence, waiting for something you have no control over to resolve itself.
Every few minutes, you become a cheerleader, thinking, “Come on lights! Go on! Go on right now!” But nothing happens. You finally realize that your typical Sunday night routine is completely out of whack.
You begin to worry a bit. How long will this last? What happens if the lights are still off tomorrow morning? How will I get ready for work? How will I set an alarm clock? What about the food in the fridge — will it be OK? Will I be able to sleep without the AC? Can I get the garage door open? You start devising a Plan B and a Plan C for your morning routine.
And through it all, you wait, patiently. It’s not all worry and unease, though. There’s something cozy about being unplugged, about reading a book by candlelight without the blare and glare of a TV screen. But of course, having the power back on would be better. You could resume your busy routine. Things could be normal again.
And then, in a flash, it happens. The lights wink back on. The AC whirs to life. The clocks flash 12:00. The TV glows again. The power is back!
You make a mental note to be better prepared the next time. You say a little prayer of thanks for the electric crews. They’re called upon at all times of the day and night to restore something we never miss until it suddenly goes out.