The Bad Attitude Guide to Surviving Epic Power Outages: The Primer Before the Wrath of #Sandy

We are now hours away from when the Capital Weather Gang, the gods of all things weather, predict the worst of the #Frankenstorm hits the DC area. So now seems the right time to brush everyone up on the Bad Attitude Guide to Surviving Epic Power Outages, first brought to you by moi last summer after Derecho. For your convenience, I’ve condensed the guide into the now shorter, more efficient (totally because I respect that you are likely trying to preserve your battery-powered devices now to have them for later) pre-storm survival list. Henceforth, from me, a decade long resident of Montgomery County, with my state legislator’s number on speed dial and a trail of written testimony and articles lambasting Pepco to show for myself, is a gift to you.

Once we’ve moved through the worst of this bitch of a storm, I will bring you phase two of the list, the much-needed (bad attitude) perspective on being a power loss victim, of course, so be sure to save some of your battery power to check back in a few days.

If you’re not first, you’re last, here’s why. And is it me or does this sign scream Communist Russia circa 1982?

1. Power outages are like fight club. If you are unfortunate enough to lose power DO NOT immediately call or text your friends to ask if they, too,  lost power. Do not jinx them. Do not speak of it. Trust me, the power loss victim will use his/her last 1% of battery power to post on Facebook and Twitter that their power is out. The powerless need to broadcast their misery. Mass power outages are to DC’ers and Facebook what negative campaign ads are to politicians, we can’t help ourselves but blast the news in a constant loop. Until our phones die.

2. By now, if you haven’t planned ahead, clearly you are new to the area and think we are dramatic. We are but you will learn to be too. In the wise words of Ricky Bobby, If you’re not first, you’re last. Do not wait for the next threatened storm to stock up on batteries. Do it on a sunny day with no clouds in sight. Everyone else will be as paranoid as you and much like the threat of a snow storm in January, the threat of the next storm in DC will lead only to ransacking of all grocery stores and stockpiling up on bottled water and batteries.

3. On Monday evening, before the wind starts howling too fiercely, brew your coffee for Tuesday. Even consider saving some for the rest of the week if you like to have it as soon as you wake up. Having morning access to coffee immediately upon waking helps tame the savage powerless beast, even if it’s iced coffee, which admittedly is more desirable during summer power outages. This quick access to coffee will only sooth your power-loss anger briefly but it helps. Trust moi.

Clearly we are in the 15 bottle zone

4. Two words: alcohol and crafts.  Stock up on them now before the power goes out. Best to just always have these things in bulk in your home because any true DC’er knows the worst storms are the ones that don’t get forecast and discussed in grave detail for days in advance.

5. Let’s cut to the chase: People who claim power outages are fun and bring the family closer together are assholes. And they also don’t have toddlers. Not one toddler in western civilization understands why the Backyardigans won’t turn on immediately and why they can’t watch streaming Netflix on the iPad. Unfortunately you will not share a common enemy with your children during prolonged power outages because  they will direct their rage at you, not Pepco. See #5 to help cope with this: alcohol and crafts.

6.Reality check: There is no logic to the Pepco power grid. If you look across the street and realize your neighbor has power while you suffer for 5 days, don’t try to understand it. And you won’t be happy for them. You won’t even like them. You will curse them. You will loathe them. You will hate their connection to the modern world. Don’t pretend otherwise.

7. Power Grid 101: If you hear a transformer blow, you’re fucked. In the instance of prolonged power outages, hope for downed wires on your street. Danger moves you up further on the list. A boring old transformer that takes .02 seconds to fix, after you wait for 5 days, is your enemy in this situation.

8. Don’t be naive: Never assume Pepco knows your home lost power, never trust their outage maps and you can never call them enough. No matter what they say.

9. Everyone’s talking about you, except you can’t hear it. When you are in the dark with no connection to the modern world, the local TV and radio stations are covering the power outages and all the things that are happening to you, incessantly. Only you don’t know what is happening to you. The rest of us do. The irony is not lost on those with power. But they only care about you or feel sorry for you, if they actually have power themselves.

10. Neighborhood Listserv Fights are about to happen. Nothing pisses off the powerless more than hearing the loud hum of a neighbor’s generator. Instead of admitting that they are just pissed off they haven’t spent the cash on a generator themselves, they inevitably take to neighborhood listservs to bitch about the noise of others’ generators and remind them of evening quiet hours. Note: those with generators generally don’t care the noise of theirs bothers you.  If you are an anthropologist or sociologist, this is your ideal time to study human behavior. And if you love watching a good passive aggressive fight in public, be sure to save some battery power to log onto your neighborhood listerv. It’s particularly good entertainment considering you no longer have TV and won’t for at least a week.

Like Wired Momma on  Facebook to keep up with the Pepco rants, the bad attitude & general commiserating. Look for part 2 of the Bad Attitude Guide in a few days….if I can log on, that is.

2 Responses to The Bad Attitude Guide to Surviving Epic Power Outages: The Primer Before the Wrath of #Sandy
  1. Bridget DeSimone
    October 29, 2012 | 3:20 am

    Love this!
    You forgot to write about the battles going on now in homes across the DC area where working couples are coming to near blows over whose work is more important and who should deal with the kids tomorrow. Ironic how so many of us are expected to “work remotely” or are on “liberal leave” with our children home from school. Trying to lead a 6-person conference call with your 5 and 7 year old fighting over Lego pieces in the background can just put you over the edge. Back to step 4, I guess.

  2. Monica Sakala
    October 29, 2012 | 10:35 am

    Bridget –
    Excellent addition to the list! It never even occurred to me that work and the government were going to shut down when I posted this earlier yesterday. But I will weave this one in for the phase 2 part of the post I’m planning for mid-week!

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