I was closing in on a server-side software debug (updating Marc Liyanage’s PHP 4.3.0 to 4.3.2r7, if you care) when


All the lights in the house went out – this was around 9pm on Monday night, the fourth of August. Viv and I stumbled around in the dark for a few mintues, trying to remember where the flashlights were, lighting candles, and eventually made it outside.


The whole neighborhood was dark, and the very last reflections of post-sunset dusk still illuminated the sky. A half-moon shone on broken clouds. After a few more minutes of puttering around the house, I noticed that the streetlights and traffic lights went out as well. Our apartment building sits at the intersection of two very busy streets, and drivers immediately began speeding through in both directions without stopping, those traveling along Twelfth often passing the darkened intersection at speeds that appeared to surpass forty miles an hour.

People started emerging from their darkened apartments, and everyone was talking with each other. Eventually I heard from someone who had walked down from above fifteenth that a bus has somehow snapped a power cable.

The lights came back on at five am.

in the interim, lying in my dark, dark, dark bedroom, the night silence outside was as deep as I can recall it ever being in this bustling neighborhood full of young people. No hum of a neighbor’s fridge or throb of a dryer; no high-pitched electrical whine. Somewhere in the distance, someone tentatively explored a melody on a steel drum.

2 thoughts on “Blackout!

  1. You must live near me and Pagan, Mike–we’re at Bellevue Ave E. between Harrison and Republican . . . was looking thru Tablet and saw your byline. You used to link American Samizdat right? I think that’s why the name was familiar . . . was adding all people who link the sami today but it’s already gone ah well . . .

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