Posted by: thughesa | May 17, 2010

The Black Out

On May  16, 2010, at 7:55 am the residents of UniverCity on Burnaby Mountain experienced roughly 21,600 seconds of life without electricity.   It was no accident, BC Hydro and Simon Fraser University had been planning “The Black Out” for ages to install new power lines.

The minute the residents of UniverCity found out they began to panic (ok, well me anyway).  What would we do all day?  What will we do with our cars if the garage won’t open?  Park far away!  My god!  Would I have to get up before 7:30am on a Sunday to take a shower? No Sunday morning cartoons, will the children revolt?  Who was going to get at 6:30am and make the coffee (Oh yeah, we have a timer)?  Will all the food in my freezer thaw out?  Does anyone know where I can get dry ice?  How will we eat?  And so on, and so on.

I was prepared, up early, coffee made and in the thermos, smoothies for the kids made the night before ready in the fridge, showered before the hot water ran out, candle lit in the bathroom in case I was suddenly thrown into darkness while still in the shower.  7:30am came and went, the power was still on.  How dull.

Finally, at 7:55am the power went off.  It was suddenly very quiet and peaceful, I sat on my patio drinking my coffee listening to all the nothing. About two minutes later all my neighbours poured out of their houses into the courtyard, coffee cups and children in tow.  It was exciting, kids in pajamas, fathers drinking gin and tonics disguised as juice, mothers in bare feet.   We discussed what we were going to do during “The Black Out”, go out for breakfast, spend the day at the park, go downtown, my husband left the car in the garage so we are stranded, etc., etc.

My family and I had an unusually successful outing for breakfast.  We have two girls, two and four, public is not our strong suit.  We ate, we laughed, no one cried or spilled any great amount of anything. We then spent the afternoon at Barnet Marine Park with some friends and their kids.  No one threw sand in anyone’s eyes, no one cried (much), there were no fights (no big ones), and we had a nice picnic with minimal sand ingested.

We are home now.  One of my neighbours organized a “Black Out BBQ”, it was to be the premiere event of the summer.  It was supposed to start at 4:oopm, it is now 3:30pm and the power has been back on for two hours and the courtyard is empty.  How dull.

I can hear someone yelling at their kids out in the courtyard as I type, perhaps all hope is not lost.  I think I shall grab my hot dogs and gin and head outside.  Hopefully “The Black Out” scheduled for next Sunday will be more long lived.  This has been a great day!

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