We had a tough week. Something (the blaster worm?) infected our computer, shutting it down for a day. Then we lost power for 26 hours.
The blackout ended the way it began — on a remote, cloistered playground. I didn’t even suspect anything was amiss until the little water geysers stopped working, and a dozen kids started hammering at the trigger mechanism and screaming for their MOMMMMMMs. Then the digital signal on my cell phone crapped out, and then came the sirens and low-flying helicopters.
Adults began working the phones, gleaning snippets of second- and third-hand information, while the oblivious kids ran themselves silly. Rumors were spread and embellished. “I heard it goes all the way to Newfoundland.” “I heard the Con Ed plant at 14th and C blew up.” “I heard the whole East Coast is down.” The scene was mostly calm, even though a number of us parents were mentally calibrating our oh-shit-o-meters.
It wasn’t long before a few folks dusted off their transistor radios and our fears of sinister activity had been calmed. After that, the scene was a big party. We stayed on the playground munching sandwiches and mingling with the other parents until we headed home at dusk. Just about every bar on First Avenue was jammed with revelers spilling into the street, and I regarded them with not a little bit of envy (why couldn’t this have happened before we had children?). As it was, Robert got a romantic candle-lit bath, and we had a quiet, early night.
Friday was hardly eventful. We walked around the city, taking it all in and trading Where Were You? stories, and Robert napped in his stroller so we could avoid the five-story schlep to his crib. When word spread that the power was back on in the West Village, we headed over to Shame On You Park and splashed around for a few hours, had a hot meal (with cold drinks!), and headed home to our blinking 12:00s.
Overall, our morale was somewhere between 1) my annoyingly carefree bachelor neighbor, who bar-hopped all night, woke up late, and cruised out to his parents’ place in the Hamptons, and 2) the acres of stranded commuters sleeping in and around Grand Central Station.
And you want to know the best part? It has been reported that crime in the city during the blackout was down compared to an average night. Makes me proud of what New York has become over the last decade. We don’t go apeshit and burn things when our sports teams win championships, and we’re cool when the excrement hits the oscillator.