Dark In Seattle -


What did you expect? It is Seattle, after all. And when it’s dark, especially in the spring or the fall or the winter, it’s also rainy. That’s the way it works around here. But the power went out here before dark; it was 3:17 by the clock on my smartphone. So we had time to get our act together before it was completely dark. Good thing I used to collect those candles...

Now the last time we had a prolonged power outage was December of 2006, and there was a reason for that one - a huge windstorm, with hurricane force winds up and down the Puget Sound Basin. And that storm netted us our third child, who’s wild enough to give weight to old wives’ tales about conception.

But this time there’s no known cause... and no working Internet or phones...


Gasoline powered Cell phone generators will immediately kick in for a handful of hours... while technicians scramble to both maintain power and refuel the emptying tanks. But the gas for the cars comes from  stations that use electrical power to run the pumps.

Telephones companies, the old land lines, have batteries stored in central offices that are not part of the power grid. Big old wet acid batteries that look like barrels, or in some cases vats. These are designed to keep the phones up for a few weeks.

if you’ve got a phone that doesn’t need to be plugged into a wall socket.... well then you should still be able to talk to each other... for a while. My internet needs power from to work, so it would go off instantly.

Some places will stay up and running for longer.   Hospitals have emergency power that will keep the lights on for a week or two. same for prisons, and police stations... Many of the big business have their own generators. that will kick in... keeping the important stuff (well, important to them) for a couple days, so they can run backup routines, or route things to another building.....

Ham radio operators will fire up their battery powered radio stations with multiple power redundancies. (they LIVE for this sort of thing... and plan for such emergencies to an obsessive level of detail) to talk around the world, and find out what the hell is going on.

If it ALL goes out... then we got three scenarios... One. this is deliberate... an attack, EMP air burst nukes, and sabotage.  Two, this is an epic level failure of all things electrical... perhaps a solar flare bigger than any we’ve ever seen before. or Three. It’s just me. its a dream or a delusion.  

If the ham radios don’t work... if the radio is just static across the spectrum, if the phones are down, if NO lights are on anywhere... then Either I’m dead or dreaming, or we have a non-trivial solar flare problem. I’m gonna be looking for northern lights before I start confirming my bias towards my own insanity.  

My next would be... hell, I dunno, start asking if my neighbors need anything I can help with... Start filling  bathtubs, buckets, and jugs with water. Check the pantry for food, and see if I can get to the local store for supplies. I live within walking distance of a grocery store, if the car won’t start (confirming my solar flare or EMP burst hypothesis)

Second day... One hell of a barbecue. all the meat in the freezer and all the food that will spoil in the fridge gets used.  cooked  to the point where it can be stored dry when I can... I got plenty of plastic tubs with airtight lids... that will keep the decay down for a few days... waiting to hear on the radio... I got one with a hand crank dynamo... anything at all.

If there is no news from the neighbors, no northern lights, no jets flying overhead, no radio, no power, no lights, no cars, no backup systems coming into play, nothing... well then its gotta be us.

By now SOMEONE would have started a plan, and good, bad, or meh, I’ll help him as best I can, throwing my support his way, so I can stay in the background, but get the ball rolling. make suggestions, keep some order in the chaos. in a way that me and mine aren’t the focus for anyone. Follow his lead till I learn what I need. Keeping things civil and calm without stepping on toes... watching, and learning. Teaching people how to make candles and lamps with strips of paper towels and cooking oil. Helping all the neighbors get to know each other, telling stories to entertain the kids, and showing people how we used to keep the darkness at bay. All in ways that quietly pulls the group together. After all, still no way to know how long the lights will be out.

But NOW, I’m getting a little worried.

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