When the Lights Go Down in the City

Washington, D.C. is powerless. The storms that blew through the city of personal and political power last Friday night were the worst I had ever been through. I heard the house’s walking creaks and a tree branch fall on the roof above me. It was the most frightening storm of my life.

Of the 2 million people who lost power Friday, about 70 percent have had their power restored. Several roads remain impassable while businesses and major streetlights remain in the black. Federal workers are on liberal leave.

I am not among the fortunate who have electricity. It is day five of being powerless. This is the first time I have been through a long-term power outage, let alone in extreme weather. My mind bounces back and forth between cleaning up the storm’s mess during a heat wave with no relieving air conditioning and the blog I intended to post. It sits safely in my office computer. If only I had saved it in the cloud…

I have lived through the area’s worst blizzard, 9-11, Hurricane Isabelle and last summer’s tropical storm followed by a rare East Coast major earthquake. I’ve seen the Washington D.C.’s strengths and fragility.

 It seems the people who complain the most do the least to help.

You learn a lot about people when crisis happens. It seems the people who complain the most do the least to help. Too many people expect more from others than they do from themselves. With so many trees and wires down, so many exhausted workers doing their best, our response should be patience and gratitude. Our ancestors lived through such situations and did not expect so many guarantees in life. We would do well, as a nation, to follow their example.

A power company representative explained the storm left the ruin of a hurricane with no warning, so there was no way to prepare. But this did not stop a politician from proclaiming the power company was not doing enough and threatening to keep his foot on the company’s butt until power is totally restored. I wish he would shut up and just help with the massive clean-up!

While the situation is inconvenient, I like it when Washington is powerless. Neighbors are unplugged from their busy lives and are outside actually talking to each other. It reminds me of the blue collar neighborhood of my childhood, before computers and cell phones. Life was less harried. I knew my neighbors well and we did not need a crisis to come out and talk. Our society has lost something beautiful in the relentless demands of schedules and technology.

I admit my blog felt like a relentless demand as Google and social media experts insist on regular blogging for optimal results. I hope you have enjoyed this one even though it is not as practical as most of my posts. I promise part III of what every employer should know about workers’ compensation is coming.  I’ll be back on the grid soon enough, but I must admit I’ve enjoyed the respite.

3 thoughts on “When the Lights Go Down in the City

  1. Charles Wasilewski says:

    Having experienced a weeklong power outage in 2011, I had a similar experience in realizing all I took for granted. Of course, it was a lot easier to reflect on those thoughts after the power was restored.

    For those who want to know how insurance helps, see:

    I.I.I. Offers Answers To Insurance Questions Emerging From Mid-Atlantic Natural Disaster

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