Sitting in the dark — and no, that isn’t a Jewish mother joke.
It’s been eerily quiet and lightless in the West Village since Monday night. Which is when, while watching TV, I lost power. I was figuring that we never lose power for more than, hey, one night and two partial days. And the subways are (almost) never inoperable. For a day or so after Septembert 11, 2011, yes. For more than a day or so during transit workers’ strikes, yes. But storms? No.
Not this time, though. The subways are silent and without the subliminal rumbling, the city is so quiet.
And I got the word directly today from a trio of Con Ed guys, standing outside their truck on Seventh Avenue and 17th Street. Maybe a week. Maybe less. That’s how long we are going to be dark. Dark with telephones, dark with TV, dark with the internet. Dark in the fridge, dark on my couch.
I didn’t do badly with the emergency management advice. Although I didn’t get extra cash, I had two flashlights (one of them, an LED, got me through at least four New Yorkers), and managed to locate a couple of candles. I have a gas stove so, with the remarkable innovation of matches (remember them?), I was able to make coffee in the morning, and oatmeal later. But no heat, no hot water and no news. And the absence of news was driving me particularly antsy.
So today, after I walked up to the New York Times building on 40th and Eighth and acquired a real newspaper, after buying a Daily News at the sort-of opened PA Terminal, I found a pay phone and called my brother. “Can you come get me?” He lives in Washington Heights. Has power. Has a car.
Oh, and by the way, the emergency cell phone I bought a few months ago precisely for such times as these didn’t work. ATT’s network was non-functioning in Lower Manhattan.
So nothing much is going to happen here for a few days. Maybe Saturday I’ll be able to get home.
The mighty lesson that the polar ice caps are melting and that the melt has just drowned parts of my city is wasted on New Yorkers. We believe in global warming,believe that we should try to do something to arrest it.
So what about the rest of the country, all those people who deny science because it’s too difficult to think about.
Well, think about it. Or the next time you try to visit my city, I’ll be standing at the exit to the tunnel and blocking your entry.