August 14, 2003
Feeling A Little Left Out

Rochester is one of the many cities affected by what I suppose should be called 'The Great Blackout of 2003'. The local paper's website says 90% of the area has been affected, with the main exception the downtown area. In fact, my little corner of the suburbs (six or eight miles north of the city, a mile south of Lake Ontario and a mile west of the Genesee River) is unaffected. My power didn't even hiccup -- the computer's been on all day and hasn't rebooted. Maybe there's something to be said for living half a mile from a very large coal-powered powerplant.

I did have to drive 40 miles today, far to the west and then to the south of downtown and then back home, and saw only two functioning traffic lights out of twenty or more along the way. At one of them, a middle-aged man and his daughter (or perhaps trophy wife) were doing an excellent job of directing traffic, without any apparent qualifications. Staying on the interstate as much as possible helped a lot. Traffic was light, even at 6:00: apparently lots of people listened to the governor's exhortation to stay home. I didn't have much choice about going out, since I had rented a truck to put the second half of my stuff in my rented storeroom. I packed and loaded all day, then headed for the storeroom around 4:30. Since my power was on, I didn't know there was a problem until I started hitting the dead traffic lights on the way. For me, the most inconvenient thing (so far) about the power failure was waiting for the storage facility employee to manually open the electric gate. He used a forklift to get over the fence. It wasn't until I finished unloading and headed for the Penske compound to turn in my truck that I thought to turn on the radio: until then I had assumed the blackout was a local thing. DJs on several stations were blaming Canadian incompetence. The only gas station I saw open had huge lines, so I turned in the truck without gassing it up. The gauge read more than 'Full', but I left a note asking them not to charge me more than $2.00 per gallon for the shortfall, since the usual punitive charge would be unfair in the circumstances. I'll find out tomorrow whether they agree. If not, I'll never rent a Penske truck again. The Penske maintenance guys -- still there after the rental clerks go home -- had hooked up a generator on one truck to run their power tools while they fixed another.

The local paper's website worries that the PGA tournament that started today may be affected. I would have thought that a freaking golf game in which carts are forbidden would be less affected by power failure than just about any other human endeavor, but what do I know? I've never played the game.

I suppose my last-trip-to-Toronto-before-I-leave-the-area, scheduled for tomorrow, will have to be canceled or put off to Saturday: it sounds as if power is off for the entire city, maybe even the whole province. Speaking of leaving the area:

I have a job!

I had already planned to relocate to Baltimore this weekend and stay with relatives while I continued my job search, but have now found a job in Baltimore, which is convenient, since there's no hurry finding an apartment. It's also kind of annoying. After dozens of resumes, written applications, and telephone calls, and thousands of miles put on the car for in-person interviews in New Jersey, Long Island, and Delaware, I got a job with two ten-minute telephone interviews, because (a) the man doing the hiring knows my brother 'steevil' and his wife and kids (the nephews are all alumni), and (b) apparently no one else, or no one else qualified, had applied. So, starting the day after Labor Day I'll be teaching Latin at a Catholic high school in the Baltimore area. Thanks for the tip, 'steevil'! I go in Monday to sign a contract and Tuesday for orientation.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at August 14, 2003 11:56 PM


Posted by: The Philosophical Cowboy on August 26, 2003 06:27 PM