I don't think so.
It was an IMMENSE INCONVENIENCE!
(Please see my last post for introductory comments.)
No milk, no ice, water soon sold out. (Some communities lost their water.)
No ice cream or frozen dinners, entrees, or vegetables.
Yogurts, packaged cheese, cottage cheese, packaged ham and other meats can't be used. The deli counter had to stop serving.
You’re at work on the 23rd floor of your office building in down town San Diego. It is just after 3:30 pm with only a half hour to go before it will be time to leave. You’ll be home in just an hour and a half, after picking up the kids from daycare. Whoops -- mustn’t forget to get gas (petrol) for the car before hitting the freeway! Thank goodness for credit cards! You’re thinking, it’s pizza for dinner tonight while you all watch the opening game of the football season.
Suddenly the whirr and clicking of the computers stop, the air conditioning grinds to a halt, the lights go out and everyone’s exclaiming, “What the…?” Yes the power’s gone out!
Similar real life scenarios took place like this last Thursday, not just in San Diego, America’s eighth largest city, but in every city, small town, small business, restaurant , café, Starbucks, busy indoor shopping mall, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, Mom and Pop stores, gas station, hair salon, department store, school, grocery store, library, bank, -- you name it – no power anywhere in the whole of San Diego County from the coast on the west to Arizona in the east; from the edge of Los Angeles in the north, to the Mexican border in the south and in some places over the border.
It was almost an hour before most of the six million people affected knew how extensive the power outage was or how long it would last. In actual fact no one knew how long it would last. Dire predictions were made ranging from several hours to several days. For some it lasted 24 hours or more. For us, we were lucky, it was 7 hours.
Offices and businesses in San Diego began to close. Thousands of people emptied out into parking lots and large parking garages) – but not before they had made the long trek down flights of stairs in double digit numbers (shades of 9/11 !) No elevators were working.
The outside temperature was in the low nineties in San Diego. Further inland it was at least 10 degrees more. It was 109 in Palm Springs. Men dressed in suits and ties, ladies in slim skirts and high heels all made the trek to their cars. The lucky ones had a full tank of gas, because as the cars began to move to the streets, gridlock began. Once you were in the car there was no going back, in fact there was no going forward, for hours. If you ran out of gas you were stuck.
But even if you had gas you were stuck. All the traffic lights were out, so by law every car had to come to a four way stop before proceeding in their turn; then there was the north/south railway tracks that many cars had to cross with no working train or crossing signals. Buses, trolleys, taxis were all in the traffic mix. No airline flights going out and very few coming in.
IMAGINE sitting in a plane on the runway for several hours...
IMAGINE…if you had to buy gas in order to get home…
…or you had to buy groceries for dinner...
…or you were in a grocery store with dozens of others trying to check out…
…or you found a small store that was still open but you didn’t have enough money – no credit or debit card could be processed.
IMAGINE… if the ATM (cash) machine wouldn’t work .
IMAGINE ...if there were no computer or internet available
IMAGINE…if you had to pick up your children at a certain time and you couldn’t get in touch with them because you were stuck for hours in traffic.
IMAGINE… if your cell phone didn't work because they were all jammed by others calling, or if you were at home your land line phone didn't work.
IMAGINE…if you had your car radio to hear what was happening but you had to choose between using up gas with your engine idling in the gridlock, or using up the car battery to listen to the radio -- or using the car air conditioning in the sweltering heat.
IMAGINE…if you had no candles or batteries or matches at home but you did have a freezer full of food beginning to spoil.
IMAGINE…if you were a tourist in one of the downtown luxury hotels and you had rooms with no air conditioning and sealed windows and little or no food in the dining room and all the restaurants were closed.
IMAGINE… if you were in the hair salon in the middle of getting your hair colored or you were under the drier.
IMAGINE… if you were stuck in an elevator with two small children (one lady was).
The possibilities are endless, some scarier than others. One hospital’s generator wouldn’t work. And perhaps the scariest of them all: Was it a terrorist attack?
Well if you have a good imagination, just look around you in the next day or so and see what wouldn’t be working for you if the power went out.
I asked the supervisor today at my local grocery store, a large and busy store in the center of Carlsbad, what was the worst thing about the power outage and he said it was throwing all the perishable food away – yes, ALL. They had insurance, he assured me, but they had to undo every packet of food and throw away the contents, so that it couldn’t be used and so they could account to the insurance company for every item of perishable food.
On the front page of today’s local newspaper was a photograph of school workers heaping thousands of cartons of juice and milk in to a skip-jack, to be thrown away.
Honestly, it’s mind boggling! What luxuries and privileges we have and it can all be gone in a minute! The needs of other people in the world who are desperate for food and other supplies doesn’t bear thinking about.
As for the reason all this happened? They tell us (if you believe them) that it all came down to one man who didn’t follow the correct procedure in replacing some equipment in an Arizona power plant.
IMAGINE WHAT YOU WOULD BE FEELING IF YOU WERE
THAT ONE MAN!
All this is true, but for more true, fanciful or original ideas for ABC WEDNESDAY please click on the link for a fun and educational look at other imaginative presentations sponsored by Mrs. Nesbitt and her hard working team.