Observations in Human Behavior from a #Sandy Survivor

It seems the worst part of that bitch of a storm #Sandy #Frankenstorm is over here in DC. Knock wood, anyway, you know I hate to be jinxy, especially about the most beloved part of my modern life: electricity – but I believe the gods of all things weather, the Capital Weather Gang, as they predict and forecast the improving weather. So with the worst hopefully behind us, let’s talk about some observations in human behavior when the “storm of the century” (thanks for that, Al Roker), strikes:

Survivors of repeat extended power outages are paranoid. We exhibit odd behaviors – like brewing coffee 15 hours in advance and keeping every electronic device plugged in and charging all day long. In anticipation .

1. Anxiety is hard. Turns out sitting around all day, closed up in your house, following federal orders to stay indoors, waiting for 8 excruciating hours for the worst of the storm to hit at dinner, is extremely stressful. Right? Also – it prompted me to make dinner at 4pm, which in itself is just strange, but who wanted to have electricity remorse and eat cold dinner at 6pm when we could eat warm dinner at 4pm?



Sitting around, waiting for the power to go out and watching the endless cycle of local news telling you the worst hasn’t come yet, and the power will eventually go out, is hard on even those of us with the steeliest of nerves.

I kept wondering – is it possible for an entire city to go dark? If it is possible anywhere in this very developed, advanced country – it will happen to all Pepco customers because that’s what they do best – suck – I reasoned (from a decade of experience).

Loved you, horse head guy.

Thanks to horse head guy for a little comedic reprieve. It’s good that someone out there was smart enough to think ahead and know that somewhere, someday, a horse head mask would be necessary to lighten the news.

2. Electricity binge. I don’t know about you but we were total power scofflaws yesterday. Why turn off a light just because you were leaving a room? Oh hell no. It could be DAYS or WEEKS before that room could see the light of electric power – mine as well leave it on. Why turn off the TV? It could be an eternity before the children can watch Jake & The Neverland Pirates again – so just leave it on. Why turn off the coffee pot? My pot for today was already brewed – let it stay on until the inevitable outage arrives – that could leave me closer to something resembling warm coffee.

But then – as I brewed coffee for me and Mr. Wired Momma in advance, I started to go a little Lord of the Flies on him….what if we really did lose power for 10 days, could I hide this coffee, did I have to share it with him? Should I hide the advance cups?


Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, if I noticed a few things in the dishwasher, I reasoned I better run the dishwasher again, it had been a few hours since I last ran it and well, it could be a long time before it can be used again.

In other words – if it could be left on, it was on, in every corner of the house. All. Day. Long.



3. Accepting applications for a new common enemy – only applicants accepted are those in infrastructure or utilities. As someone who spent much of her 2os hating Metro’s red line for its total inability to ever get me to work during rush hour when the rain threatens, or get me home when the rain happens, before we even get to snow, I then moved to Montgomery County in my early 30s. My new common enemy quickly became Pepco. As an extended power outage survivor, multiple times a year, I almost built my entire writing identity around my hatred of this utility. My efforts to dismantle and destroy them through writing for Washingtonian, for my own blog, submitting written testimony to their public hearings and calling my local state legislators –  was true and committed. It has been a part of me. I love having a common enemy almost as much as  I love having electricity.

C’est vrai.

Yet here I am, a survivor of Derecho and a survivor of #Sandy – with electricity. My coffee was brewed for today, around 4pm yesterday, yet I can just brew one this morning. What is happening? I am a lost, wandering soul without a reason to hate Pepco.

I am now accepting applications for the next large public utility or incompetent infrastructure in Washington, DC to be my newest common enemy.


4. There would have been only one advantage to losing power – not having to listen to the stupid campaign ads on TV. Oh, and I love all the segments on TV now about what’s safe and not safe in your fridge if you’ve lost power – I especially love them because those who don’t have power – can’t hear them.


What do you have to add to the Survivor List? Be sure to “Like” the Wired Momma Facebook page to keep up with the list and fun….and also – to apply to be my new common enemy. I need you.

2 Responses to Observations in Human Behavior from a #Sandy Survivor
  1. jodifur
    October 30, 2012 | 2:00 pm

    I wouldn’t give up on hating pepco just yet. Just because they survived this storm doesn’t mean there isn’t another one for them to screw up on.

  2. Bethesda Locavore
    October 31, 2012 | 12:06 am

    Ha – that is funny. I felt vaguely like a lost wandering soul today too – I was sooooo prepared for every little detail of my anticipated week of no power, and there was my husband making the coffee like it was any other day.

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