Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Blackout

Well that was interesting. Power only just got restored 5 minutes ago. Half an hour before that, the lights all went out dramatically - you could almost hear the winding down sounds of a hundred home appliances, air conditioners, TVs, computers, all going click, whirr, hum in decreasing tones into silence.

Then some idiots downstairs started whooping, hollering, and shouting. Bloody idiots - you'd think they'd never been through a blackout before. (confer Asimov's Nightfall) Come to think of it, they probably haven't. The last one I remembered was as a child, and it was those childhood memories that guided me to the candles when the lights went out this time. (damned useful things, tealights)

The thing is, I felt less helpless back then than I did now. We didn't depend on so much technology - this blackout saw us groping in darkness to find our torches (thankfully we have several round the house), our cordless phone stopped working since the base station is electrically powered (again, luck on part - we had a spare normal phone that we hooked up), and our handphones were down as well - I suspect the base stations were on the same grid. No TV, no internet, no blogging, no calling of friends to go "Hey, is there power at your place?" ... almost got out the Scrabble set to play by candlelight. I was all set to really go all emergency mode on this blackout, and then the lights came back on.

Still, it was quite a sight to set outside and see it dark all the way to Hougang. Some isolated buildings kept a few lights up somehow, but the woods were lovely, dark and deep as far as the eye could see. Which, admittedly, is not very far here, but still impressive.

The cats, by the way, reacted typically: Patch took one look at me with my torchlight, and stepped firmly under the bed with a "I'm staying RIGHT here until things get back to normal" look. Iffy, on the other hand, demonstrated fully the advantage of being a black cat in a dark room and was invisible for the duration. Followers of the Zone system would have rated her a zone 1, no doubt (follow the link and read down to the middle of the page)

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