I’ve had this subject kicking around in my drafts folder for years. As we enter the season of political ads, non-stop analysis and social media spew that seems designed to pit everyone against everyone else, I thought this little story might help. Also, given that the heat index in Connecticut is supposed to be 110°f (43°c) today, I think the setting and the photos will make us feel better.
This story starts on Halloween in 2011. A freak snow storm dropped a foot of heavy wet snow onto trees that had not yet lost most of their leaves. The devastation came quickly. By 7:00 pm, we had lost power. Not just our house, not just our street, the entire town and most of the region. We remained without power for ten days.
It wasn’t as bad as you might imagine, for several reasons:
The company I work for allowed us to work from home, hotels, shelters, etc.
The weather was relatively mild.
My wife kept the house warm and the coffee brewed, by keeping a fire going in the wood stove.
Tunxis Grill has a generator.
Our town setup a ‘charging station’ (complete with WiFi and MREs1) in a large room in Town Hall.
Each day, I worked as long as I could, i.e. until almost every battery was dead. Then, I would pack up our devices, their respective chargers and a power strip and head to the charging station. I would work there about another 2-3 hours, then move to Tunxis Grill where I would pick up some take-out for the keeper of the flame. I might have had a beer while I waited.
The people at the charging station were very nice to each other. Sharing outlets, sharing stories, offering help where possible. On Day-4, several of us were discussing the storm, the utility’s inability to repair the cables crossing the river (the ones feeding our substation) and the Town’s effort to clean up the tons of broken branches, when a woman interrupted”
“Excuse me, my son has to have a breathing treatment, but it draws a lot of power. I’m sorry to ask, but can you guys unplug for about 15 minutes? Yesterday, we tripped a breaker.”
We all stopped talking. We unplugged our devices, assured and reassured her that she could have the power for as long as she needed it. We asked if she needed anything else. One guy, who was charging a battery backup device, offered to let her take it home if it would help.
When she placed the mask on her son’s face, nothing else in that room mattered. We talked to her and her son until the treatment was finished.
This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.
If you’re wondering why there are no dog pictures, Maddie hadn’t been born yet, and Molley was a little too old to romp in this stuff.
(1) Meals Ready to Eat – Provided by The Army National Guard.