When I was a kid growing up on Martha’s Vineyard, we lived at the end of a long dirt road in the woods. So a few times a year, when there was a big storm, the power would go out. The wind would blow a tree onto a line, or something like that—at least, something that was easily understood by us entitled dummies.
I went off to college and then moved to Los Angeles, so I forgot about the association: storm = no power.
But for some reason, our little suburb of L.A.—which is super nice and comfortable—has terrible electrical infrastructure in our neighborhood.
We’ve been having winter storms, and my wife said, “Great, it’ll probably knock out the power again.”
And it did!
We’re not even sure what happens—there hasn’t been a lot of wind—but maybe there are some underground cables that flood and get knocked out. It’s very bizarre, and we wish somebody would just explain it to us.
SCE sends out these “restoration of service” emails, but they unhelpfully arrive after the power has been restored.
We just went through something like seven outages the past 24 hours—some lasting several hours.
On the Vineyard, we had electric stoves and a well (meaning the water needed electricity for the pump)—so we were really roughing it. The longest it was ever out was after Hurricane Bob in August 1991, some four days.
In L.A., with our gas stove and municipal water, we at least can cook and get cold water.
Then again, on the Vineyard, we had a wood stove. Here, the heat went out.
So, it was a drag, but a good reminder (as I tried to tell the kids) that this is how people lived for most of human history, and we’re very lucky to have all the modern conveniences that we do.
The worst thing—which is sort of the same problem as showbiz—is not that you are often without power, but that you lose the ability to trust that it will stay on.
Even now, typing this, I’m paranoid that at any second the screen—and house—will just go dark.