When I attended college, a very long time ago, I worked as a teller in a bank during my summer vacations. I hadn’t been there long when the head teller came over and asked, “
what will happen if the electricity goes out?” I looked around at all the
electronic equipment we used for transactions and said, “We’ll have to close
the bank.” To me that had to be the most logical solution. Marion
“No,” he said, opening one of the drawers in my cubical. “We take this crank, attach it here, and do all the transactions manually.”
Where’s our crank? How will we run our PC’s, Smartphone, and all the other electronic equipment we can no longer live without? There is no crank. But we have our electricity that recharges or runs them all, so we’re fine. Except....when the lights go out.
Have you ever been in a power failure? I’m not talking about one that lasts a few hours and maybe disrupts the TV program you wanted to watch. We’re all familiar with the glitches these can cause, and we know they’ll be repaired eventually. The news on the TV, once it’s back on, tells us who still has no power, and we feel sorry for those 6,000 people in a neighboring state who have to do without heat or their air-conditioning. But they’ll be okay, eventually.
I’m talking about an electrical failure that terrifies you. I was in
when the ‘Northeast Blackout’
hit on November 9, 1965. Most of the east coast from New York City Canada
down to lost electricity. I was a lace designer,
working on the first floor on the corner of 30th and Madison Avenue.
The lights had gone out in our building right around when we finished work. I
walked out onto the street and a panic gripped me, along with everyone else on
the street. Washington, D.C.
Strangers were asking strangers for explanations. What was going on? Everything was black except for a few windows of light in buildings with their own generators. Not only were the majority of streetlights, traffic lights and building lights out, but also the light on the top of the
something normally visible from that corner. That in itself was scary. How
would planes flying over the city know where the tallest building existed? The
only light we had to go by in the dark evening was a magnificent full moon. Empire
I expected to hear bombs blasting around us as the Russians (it was the height of the Cold War) came over to destroy us. Fortunately, people on the street with portable radios (not the tiny kind we have now) shared the news, and we gathered around them to learn we weren’t being invaded after all. Some stupid malfunction created by human error had made the mess.
And what a mess. People were stranded in elevators for hours. My girlfriend had to get off a stopped subway and walk the tracks to safety. I ended up sharing a taxi with several people, with stop and go traffic at nonworking traffic lights. Finally, I made it to my husband’s relatives who lived on 85th Street. It took hours before we could get back home to the
The big scare is: ‘What if the lights go out, and they never come on again?” What will we do when we can no longer hear our ITunes or use Facebook. What if our technology dies? And it could happen. Predictions are that the next evil destroyer of our freedoms will come from some technology expert who will make everything we own unusable.We don’t prepare well for the unexpected. What will we do when the next ‘Big One’ hits, and we have no crank?