I didn’t realize until yesterday that it was the 10th anniversary of the great midwest blackout, which I am not going to capitalize and you can’t make me. The Free Press headline writer asked where I was, and OK, I’ll bite:
I was at the pool at Veterans Memorial Park in Ann Arbor, enjoying some idle time before my Knight Wallace Fellowship commenced at the end of the month. Kate and her buddy were enjoying the water slide when suddenly the water stopped sluicing down the chute. There were a few moments of confusion, and then the lifeguards started whistling everybody out of the pool. Power was out, pool was closing. This was around 4 p.m. or so.
So we went home, just a couple blocks away. Power was out there, too. I turned on the battery-powered radio, and learned power was out in a whole lot of places. The NPR reporter’s voice was shaking; just two years after 9/11, it was plain she feared this was a terror attack, and if the terror was lacking for now, it would surely be on its way.
Alan came home, and we assessed the situation. We’d been intending to go back to Indiana in the next couple of days anyway, and with no juice for the foreseeable future, we packed up and hit the road, already low on gas. We pulled off the freeway in Jackson. No power, and hence no working gas pumps. Tried again around Marshall. Nope. On I-69 we dropped our speed to save fuel and crossed our fingers. There’s a truck stop just over the Indiana line with enough gas to fill an ocean. As it hove into view, it hove into view — we could see the lights and the warm glow of civilization.
We coasted in on fumes and filled ‘er up, then filled ourselves with Wendy’s. I reflected that Indiana is out-of-step with its neighbors on so many things, but I’d finally found something I could get behind — it’s even on a different power grid. But that time, it was one that worked.
Most people’s stories of how they weathered important events are boring, and I am no exception. Man, those Wendyburgers tasted good.
So today, the same guy who did the Crisco Fist art prank pulled another — putting For Sale signs on street lights, public statues and other buildings around the downtown area. As jokes go? Pretty lame, but you can see how the media covered it dutifully. It went a little like this:
(God, I loved that movie.)
Second somebody-explain-this-guy request of the week: I don’t read sci-fi (with a few exceptions), and so know nothing about Orson Scott Card, but I thought he was a generally respected author in the genre, albeit one with a problem with gay people. Now it appears he is, instead, actually nuts. Do these crazy ideas get passed around in a newsletter or something? This is the second or third time I’ve heard the Obama’s Band of Urban Gangs theory.
Over and out. I’m thinking it’s Oberon time.