Timeline of a Blackout (Or, How Did the Pilgrims Make Their Oscar Predictions?)

Nov. 19, 2012

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

4:12 a.m. – As I’m about to fall asleep I notice my phone is at 35% battery. “Do I charge it?” I ponder. I fall asleep before I reach an answer.

11:20 a.m. – I wake up. Phone is at 25%. I check Twitter. Did you guys see that picture of President Obama and McKayla Maroney? That guy is a hoot, isn’t he? God, I love him.


1:10 p.m. ish – Head to Starbucks. I haven’t charged my phone yet but I’m just grabbing a coffee and bagel with friends before heading back.

1:30 p.m. – Eating in Starbucks when the power goes out. The staff asks everyone there to leave. I immediately jump up and scream, “IF ANYONE PLANS ON LOOTING THIS PLACE I CALL THE CAKE POPS.” (This is a joke. I didn’t say this and would never loot. Sometimes I get sweaty palms when I know I have 13 items and am standing on the Express Check-Out line at Stop & Shop.)

2:00 p.m. – Back at my apartment. Confident we’ll receive power back soon. Phone charge is slowly declining but I’m not worried; keep checking Twitter and Instagram like it’s no big deal.

2:30 p.m. – Start pondering things that are worse than power outages. Maybe Kony? Perhaps bad Chinese food? These are the only two things I can come up with.

2:45 p.m. – Open laptop to check its battery life. The bar immediately changes from a thin black line to an even thinner red one. A shiver runs down my spine but I remember I have some reading to do for class.

2:47 p.m. – The sun begins to set. (This is an exaggeration but the sun starts setting insanely early, right? Is that global warming? Can I just blame everything on global warming from now on? “Gloria, get me Al Gore on the phone.”)

2:48 p.m. – I pull a chair by my window to take advantage of the dwindling sunlight. I try to read my textbook but am awkwardly making eye contact with the girl in the apartment across the street sitting by her window to eat. Is that Ramen? How could she heat it up? Maybe it’s just cold peanut butter noodles? My mom makes the best cold peanut butter noodles. Right, homework.

3:00 p.m. – Do I really have to poop or do I just think that because I know the bathroom is pitch black so I can’t?

3:12 p.m. – JonBenet Ramsey comes up in my textbook. This holds my attention.

3:17 p.m. – The author moves on from the Ramsey case. I check Twitter.

3:30 p.m. – I can’t decide if I’m hot or cold so I go into my room to change. I try to flip on the light switch. I feel like a moron but will continue to do this for the duration of the power outage.

3:50 p.m. – I take a break from reading to think about everything I need to do that I can’t in a blackout: edit my senior project, type up this column, do research for an assignment due Thursday, check the latest threads on BraodwayWorld.com, track any changes to Sandra Bernhard’s Wikipedia page, catch up on Nashville, search the “Glenn Close” tag on Tumblr, watch Madonna’s Super Bowl performance. Immediately break out in cold sweats. How did the Pilgrims make their Oscar predictions without the Internet?

4:00 p.m. – Wake up in the fetal position after momentary spell of lack-of-Internet-induced unconsciousness. Phone is hovering around 7%.

4:10 p.m. – Borrow my roommate’s cell phone to call my mom. She is startled by my tone and asks what’s wrong. She drones on something about not having power for seven days recently but I can’t focus because the sun is slowly setting and hunger is taking over. I’m suddenly aware that I haven’t eaten since the bagel in Starbucks. I tell my mom to tell everyone I loved them and make sure my books are given to attractive people.

4:15 p.m. – I take inventory of what I have to eat: microwave popcorn, Easy Mac, oatmeal, and pasta. I immediately regret letting my food supply shrink as we approach Thanksgiving break. I dare not crack open the refrigerator or freezer. I will die hungry.

4:17 p.m. – I have Nancy Kerrigan screaming, “Why?!” stuck in my head. It’s how I feel about this blackout and ConEd is Tonya Harding. I practice my Nancy Kerrigan scream a few times out loud.

4:19 p.m. – I debate using my remaining 3% battery to send out a tweet with my final words. I decide they will be “I’m in hell with the Sandersons.” I think better of it. I will overcome this as no human has overcome any adversity before.

4:20 p.m. – I keep flipping up the light switches. “STUPID STUPID STUPID,” I scream at myself as I hit my head against the wall.

4:23 p.m. – What are the chances that girl has any noodles left? Maybe I should have looted those cake pops.

4:26 p.m. – I think about movies I’ve seen in the past – 127 Hours, Schindler’s List, Apollo 13, and Hotel Rwanda. If screenwriters can write such heroic tales then surely I can weather this storm.

4:35 p.m. – I’m slowly losing it. I stand on a chair and scream into the smoke detector, “WE’RE IN HERE. CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?! WE’RE IN HERE!!!” No one I live with is amused. They’ve all been doing work this whole time.

4:43 p.m. – My phone is on 3%. This has literally never happened to me before.

4:47 p.m. – I have an epiphany in which I remember that I have a car charger in my car. I throw on appropriate attire and begin driving my car around the loop.

5:00 p.m. ish – I’m driving past The Neu – blasting this song – when I notice lights are back on. I pull up into Alumni and run into my apartment crying tears of joy. My saga has ended. I’m alive.