Blackout blues seen first hand

By Rosemarie Gonzalez
September 4, 2003

Steph Mangold

POP! As the late afternoon sun peered through my seventh floor apartment glass window, the television set shut off. I was sitting in the living room eating with Xavier, my 9-year-old little brother, when suddenly there was no power in my father’s apartment.

Now, this was quite odd since the apartment building is fairly new. So I started thinking to myself, “what the hell is going on?”

I reached for my cell phone and dialed my father’s work number, as I heard a constant beeping sound which came from my battery-operated computer.

As I waited for the call to go through, Xavier, being the typical little brother, kept asking me questions. “What happened? Why isn’t anything on? What are we going to do?” Me, of course, being the typical older sister replied, “shut-up.”

I grew impatient because I didn’t know why my call was not going through, but after a long, silent pause, I got an answer from the operator saying, “We’re sorry. All circuits are busy. Please try your call again. Goodbye.”

I didn’t know what to do, so I tried calling my mother, but that didn’t work either. I didn’t hear any rowdy noises or anyone in the building rummaging around, so I was thinking that the power was out in our apartment only.

As I continued to think of what to do, my mother got a hold of me on my cell phone and immediately asked, “Rosie, is everything OK on your end?”

I was so confused by her question until she filled me in on what was going on. We were in a blackout. Now, how bad could it be? But at the same time, how cool is that?

Needless to say, my mother and I didn’t stay on the phone too long because we got cut off. Maybe by other cell phone users, or maybe because I was low on battery.

Either way, I still didn’t know how long the power was going to be out for, and the apartment was starting to get dark because there are no windows in our hallway.

I started moving around the apartment to see if there were any batteries or candles that would come in handy for when it would turn pitch black.

By the time my father came home, I had everything ready, but found that we had no matches to light our candles or stove with.

Our next door neighbors were nice enough to give us a whole box of them so that we were able to make a small meal…and with that being said, the highlight of my day was that I had some Chef Boyardee while listening to the play-by-play of the Yankee game on the radio.

With very low water pressure, I was able to shower in the pitch blackness of the night and hope not to slip and fall on my bar of soap. When I was done, there was nothing to do, but go to bed…that’s how boring it was.

I fell asleep thinking, “How did people survive when there was no electricity?”

BEEP! I woke up the next morning at 8:16 a. m. to the sound of my cable box setting itself to the right time and the jibber jabber of the loud television set in the living room. It had been about 16 hours since I last had power and there were still people waiting for theirs to come back.

I’m just happy to say that I was lucky enough to be home at the time of the black-out, and not on the train or stuck in my elevator.

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Rosemarie Gonzalez

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