WOODLEY PARK: I Survived the Blackout
LAST NIGHT, around 11 p.m., my neighborhood was sent into darkness by some sort of manhole fire way over on 14th Street NW, two neighborhoods away. I looked out my window. The street lights were dark, as was the Marriott Wardman Park hotel. I toured the neighborhood. There was electricity three blocks to the west and across Rock Creek Park in Adams Morgan and Kalorama. Late-night diners at Open City were illuminated by candle light. On Connecticut Avenue, cab drivers ignored the basic rule of treating a non-functioning traffic light as a four-way stop. Typical.
In the grander scheme of things, the situation wasn't all that bad. I just went to sleep and woke up around 5:30 a.m., when the lights in my apartment suddenly came back on. I like to think of myself as sort of prepared for emergencies. I have a big stockpile of bottled water should disaster ever render the Washington Aqueduct useless. I have a flashlight, someplace. Ready.gov has taught me that in the event of a radiological attack that I have to "[u]se available information to assess the situation" and ideally have "a thick shield" to block the nuclear threat.
But I don't have any candles. And last night, that was my critical weakness as I worried about how long the illumination from my laptop and cellphone batteries would last. Thankfully, I survived the threat.