Black Thursday

Just before sunset power went out at home. We checked the circuit breakers which were fine but discovered about five or six other neighbors were also out of power. So just a half-dozen homes were hit with some isolated freakish power outage. Here I get some work done on the laptop and uploaded much of the photos seen here since the cable modem still worked plugged into my backup UPS. I turned the screen red so I wouldn’t lose my night vision.

Three hours later and it was pretty darn dark so I had to fire-up the lantern which is a hold-over from my days living in Honaunau when I first got to the island. Back then the power went out at least once a week (no kidding) and some weeks it would go out three times or more.

The outages back then were usually brief (15 minutes to a couple of hours) but coming from Honolulu this was quite a change. In Honolulu if power went out for 5 minutes it was a big deal, if it went out for 30 minutes that would make the front page of the newspaper. A regular catastrophe, no whirling blenders at Jamba Juice, people stuck in elevators, no lights or air conditioning in those hemetically sealed offices, no gas pumps working, sewage plants overflowing and no TV, gasp! Once power went out at KGMB-TV during the Superbowl, the entire game was off the air and the transmitter was dead. They did re-run it later that night, like anyone cared by then. That’s like someone offering you a Krispy Kreme doughnut after stuffing yourself with cheap Love’s Bakery cake doughnuts, barf…a good thing too late.

About four hours without power and just in front of my place HELCO finally got the power back on. Turns out that a cable went bad so they had to re-route the power via another line. I expect power to be turned-off sometime tomorrow as they work to replace the bad line underground.

When you live on the Big Island you have to be prepared. Flashlights, battery powered alarm clocks, candles, lighters, lanterns, water jugs, etc. Old timers know the routine so much so that you can verify it whenever there’s a shipping strike. Good luck trying to find rice or toilet paper in the stores, old-timers have been through it before and stock-up on items. Yep, a little power outage won’t stop them from eating SPAM™ or Vienna Sausages right out of the can without cooking.

City boy that I was my neighbor had to come to my rescue when I first moved to the Big Island during a power outage, she let me borrow menora she bought at a garage sale with a couple of candles. Nothing like the loss of the Internet and TV to bring people together, I spent tonight hanging out with the neighbors chatting away in the darkness. Life ain’t so bad without electricity.

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