Finally. 58 hours after the power went out I no longer need to drive all the way to the Tully’s on Broadway to charge my cellphone and tap into the Internet. Instead I’m sitting here charging up (and warming up) at the Tully’s on Genesee and Rainier. I guess that’s progress.
Needless to say I’m still without power, as are twenty thousand or so of my neighbors in and around the Rainier Valley, which apparently is one of the last places in the city where main feeders are still down. Not that I know for sure, because I can’t get through to Seattle City Light’s “hotline” this morning.
Of course, despite all my whining, I can’t say the prolonged power outage is entirely without its positives. We tend to learn a lot about ourselves when faced with adversity, and I for one have learned that I really like electricity. A lot.
Electricity does all kinds of cool things. Like keep my food cold — or even frozen — so it doesn’t spoil. It also does a lot of warm things, like… well… keep me warm. That’s cool. Or warm. Whatever.
It got so cold in my house last night that my cat actually tried to join me and the dog in bed. (The dog was, how shall we say…? Uncooperative.) I can’t tell you exactly how cold it was in my house this morning because the indicator on my thermostat only goes down to 40 degrees. I can tell you that unlike her outside water bowl, my dog’s inside water bowl has not frozen over. Yet. So my house is somewhere within that 8-degree range between virtually freezing and literally freezing.
I’ve gotten a couple emails and comments from readers telling me to quit my whining… that I should have just been better prepared. But I’m not sure how much better prepared I could have been. I’ve got a wind-up radio and some candles and a couple flashlights and plenty of food. And with the dead pear tree that blew down in my yard, I have plenty of well-seasoned firewood. Unfortunately, what I don’t have is a fireplace in which to burn it.
I suppose I could have bought myself a generator to power the blower on my oil furnace, but for a city dweller, that just seems like overkill. It’s not like I’m living on some island or out in the country where the occasional power outage is the price you pay for the beauty and peace that comes from such isolation. I live in the middle of a major American city, and it is reasonable to expect the basic infrastructure to function.
Still, I don’t have it nearly as bad as others. My daughter is with her mother staying with family in Mill Creek, and I was fortunate to have a full tank of gas when the windstorm hit. But the Rainier Valley is filled with working class families, many of them immigrants, who don’t have the same resources or safety net. I’ve run into a couple families from my daughter’s school, and they describe people combing the streets for firewood, and elderly neighbors with no heat and no place to go.
And man, is my cat pissed.
I’ve heard a lot of news reports about fights at the pumps as filling stations run out of gas. Well, the power is back up along most of Rainier Ave. S., and there are no lines at the gas stations. So fill ‘er up.