Charlie Teljeur: The choreography of a power outage
|By Charlie Teljeur - Contributing Writer | Aug. 2 2018|
I guess the whole endeavour would have started with something like “severe thunderstorm warning for our area” which, depending on your point of view, living situation and outlook on life, would have had you feeling everything from anxiety to exhilaration. I was the latter. Attribute that to an amazement for natural wonders like thunderstorms and also because I don’t work for Ontario Hydro.
At this point, someone, somewhere would have been the first of thousands to utter the immortal words “we might lose power” to get the ball rolling. In fact, maybe this, the not knowing, is something we should use to fund local initiatives. Bet a side, power losers fund the hospitals.
Next, social media sprung to action and sprung they did. Within minutes you could see actual photos of the current damage being done. The transformer fire was real. If it’s on the internet it must be.
One of the downsides to the lightning (pardon the pun) quickness of social media is that our traditional channels for spreading the news have become pretty much obsolete. Gone are the days of rumours being spread of the power outage caused by a downed Martian spacecraft somewhere in Algonquin Highlands. Gossip in small towns is all but dead (from what I hear).
Then the power itself did go down. Kaput. This led to the next string of events which are mainly humorous (for anyone not wearing a uniform). Seeing that it occurred mid-afternoon, lighting wasn’t really affected. You could get on with your day unless your day involved plugging something in to keep you busy. Mine did. I just sat there in the light thinking that I would be sitting in the dark if it wasn’t so light out.
Hands up for those who flicked at least one light switch, immediately feeling like an idiot for not remembering that the power was off. You weren’t alone.
As the hours passed inevitably you would hear questions as to how long the outage would last. Anyone who knew (translation: contacted Hydro) informed the rest of us with that utter smugness you used to feel on the playground when informed that Sheila likes Trevor.
What’s most telling about you during the outage was what you did while it was happening. Some read. Some played board (bored) games while others just sat in pained anguish watching the power display on their phone go from yellow to red knowing that their online life was about to end (for the night at least).
Then thousands of us spent the night by flickering candlelight, eating something mysterious out of a can, listening to the gentle sounds of nature (generators running nearby) while occasionally flicking the light switch in the hopes of coaxing it into working. One of these times it will work.
Charlie Teljeur is a contributing writer for The Highlander.