Thoughts In The Dark

Seattle got hit by a big windstorm yesterday. Even though I know tall buildings, even one as old as the one I work in, are built to withstand more than that, it was still unnerving to hear large booming against the windows all day long. Downtown never lost power, however.

I took light rail home. The walk home through the wind and rain seemed preferable to standing at a bus stop at 4th & Pike in the wind and the rain. I would have taken a coworkers’ advice and cut my walk in half by catching a bus outside of Capitol Hill Station, except that a fire truck outside of Hot Cakes had all lanes on Olive Way blocked. Buses were at a standstill. So I walked home.


We were in the red

Our microwave was blinking 12:00 when Phillip got home. Our apartment building had lost power at some time during the day. Even though the Seattle City Light web site showed most of our neighborhood without electricity, we somehow had our power.

I braved a couple of games of Cities: Skylines and The Sims 4, knowing that, at any moment, the computer could suddenly go dark. But our electricity stayed on. We had dinner and I went to bed.

There didn’t seem much to blog about. (“Today, there was a lot of wind and rain.”)

I woke up sometime around 11 o’clock last night. It’s funny how sudden silence can wake you up. Phillip was up. He had a flashlight in one hand and something glowing green in the other. It took me a while to figure out what had happened. We had lost power. That glowing green rectangle was Phillip’s cell phone.

I got up, booted up my cell phone, set an alarm for the morning, and went back to bed.

The power was still out when the alarm woke me up this morning. The apartment was dark.

When I was a child, my family had a joke that if the power went out during a hurricane, we could at least have fun watching TV by candlelight. This morning, that joke sort of came true.

I’m glad I bought a smartphone. It’s a flashlight, a phone, a clock, the internet, and a book during a power outage. (And, thanks to Pokémon Go, I have a powerful backup battery/charger so running the phone’s battery down wasn’t an issue.) This morning, I surfed the internet by candlelight. The outage map for Capitol Hill looked pretty much the same as last night. There were no outages Downtown or in the U District.

A long time ago, I used to think I was clever by using a cell phone to reset clocks after a power outage. This morning, my phone was the best tool I had during the power outage.

We have a windup lantern that would have come in handy, except that neither one of us could remember where it is. We did, however, know exactly where the candle, the solar-charged flashlight, and the phones’ battery packs were. In some way, we were prepared, and in other ways, not so much. However, as Phillip pointed out, this was the first time we’d been without power for more than three or four hours. Also, it’s not like we’re isolated in our high-density neighborhood. There’s a lot of places within walking distance, and much of it had power.

Of course, we didn’t have hot water. I don’t like taking cold showers. But I like the idea of going to work without a shower even less. I had a quick cold shower by candlelight this morning.


Looking better this morning

The sun was coming up, and the apartment was a little brighter, but still without electricity, when I left for work.

I figured that even if route 47 was running with diesel buses or the backup batteries on trolley buses, it would probably be stuck somewhere by Seattle City Light repair trucks. (Of course, I wouldn’t know if it was, since Metro never has explained to me why I never get text alerts for the 47.) I figured other routes might be sharing space with repair trucks as well. I decided to walk up the hill and ride light rail. I hadn’t received any alerts about Link and, besides, if the station was out of power, there are buses nearby. At times like this, it’s best to have options.

There were a lot of large City Light trucks, and a lot of crews, hard at work, all over the neighborhood.

Nearer to Broadway, lights were on.

The train to Downtown was crowded. I wasn’t surprised. At times like this, it’s best to travel underground.

Of course, electricity was the main topic of conversation at work this morning.



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