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Monday, May 23, 2022

Thoughts On Power Outages

 During thunderstorms following unseasonably hot weather, we lost power last night.  This power outage lasted several hours.  I've experienced longer power outages before, but I realized while sitting in the dark last night that it had been a number of years since a power outage had caused inconvenience for me beyond having to reset the clocks.  With that, I bring you the various epiphanies I had last night, with the (possibly unrealistic) hope that I won't be repeating the experience anytime soon.

1. In spite of my hopes, I (and you) might experience more frequent power outages.  I'm no meteorologist and I know next to nothing about electricity.  However, I do know from life experience that power outages often happen during storms, which are increasing in both frequency and severity.  Having grown up in North Carolina, I'm no stranger to summer thunderstorms, but I'm often struck and how much more violent storms seem now than they did when I was a child.  So in my mind, it stands to reason that more frequent and severe storms may lead to more frequent power outages.  Yet one more reason--on top of so many already--to take meaningful action on the climate.

2. Hand-cranked devices rule, battery-operated devices drool (and leak battery acid).  I connected some dots last night.  We've had battery-operated flashlights we've had to throw away because they've gotten horribly sticky, apparently for no reason.  The same thing happened last night with a hand-cranked radio with battery back-up.  I hadn't used it since losing power during Hurricane Sandy.  Well, we tried to use it last night, but it was incredibly sticky (and also had stopped working) and I had a lightbulb moment that the stickiness was probably coming from batteries that had long ago corroded.  Fortunately, we had one hand-cranked flashlight and one hand-cranked lantern, which were delightfully un-sticky and worked quite well.  If you're considering an impulse purchase today, one of those wouldn't be a bad way to go.

3.  Pets aren't happy about the power outage, either.  At least Stella wasn't.  The last apartment we rented before buying our condo had one of those climate control systems where heat and AC couldn't coexist and they had to switch back and forth with the seasons.  Of course, with weather patterns becoming less predictable, this invariably led to lengthy spells of discomfort while the management tried to decide if the hot/cold spell was some sort of anomaly or a true change in seasons.  Stella used to get pretty grumpy during the hot spells when we didn't have AC, so it's not surprising that she was unhappy last night when we had no AC to alleviate three days of temperatures over 90 degrees.  She spent much of the night meowing loudly, possibly thinking that Scott and I were just being dense and if she could only be loud enough we might turn on the AC so we could all be comfortable.

4.  Sitting in the dark makes you tired.  I was struck at how early I became drowsy, sitting in the dark, even with a couple of light-emitting devices.  Of course, falling asleep in bed was another story, due to it being hot and stuffy and certain cats complaining bitterly!

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