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Executive Publisher’s Comment: In the Dark

There is nothing like a good blackout to put a different perspective on just about everything.The list of downsides of a hydro outage is much too long and complex for me to cover in this brief comment...



There is nothing like a good blackout to put a different perspective on just about everything.

The list of downsides of a hydro outage is much too long and complex for me to cover in this brief comment.

I was just about home when the moment hit. Two traffic lights out in a row were my first indication. I arrived home to find many neighbours on the street wondering what the extent was, armed with my traffic light info. A kid strolling by with his walkman informed us that the blackout was much of the continent.

Wow this was big! I immediately wondered how my folks and my wife were coping. Mom and Dad live on the fifth and third floors of a seniors’ home in Toronto and Karen, my wife, was at the cottage giving her eighty-two-year-old mom a holiday. It quickly became apparent that my cell phone was useless, system overload; cordless landlines were equally useless, the old and much maligned rotary phone worked like a charm.

Karen, a gifted outdoors woman, had a full tank of gas, a B.B.Q., lots of coolers, and a lake full of water, and assured me she and her mother would be fine. I then took to the front porch with a cooler of beer.

At this time the upsides of a blackout began to appear. The street was full of people, thawing food on the B.B.Q.s and the mood was almost festive. I visited with neighbours that normally get little more than a nod, we even stargazed together.

I don’t want to minimize what a crisis it is when the hydro goes out. I think collectively we are all shocked at our utter dependence on electricity and how vulnerable the supply can be. Yet there is a small side of me that wouldn’t mind the odd outage, maybe we would find a few things that we seem to have misplaced.


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