The lights started flickering around 10:25 pm. At first I thought it was just a bulb about to blow in my mother's bedroom, but then I noticed that the living room lights were sputtering as well. I called downstairs, to the doorman, and we both theorized that it might be the weather — it's been very windy the past few days.
But then one of the other building residents was talking in the background and the doorman said that they had figured it out — it was a transformer, and he'd call me back. A few moments later there was a muffled boom and then total blackness.
It's odd how quiet everything becomes when there is no light. No hum of electricity or machines. How used to it, to the white noise of electricity, we have become. Although I know that this will get fixed, I can't help but have an eerie feeling, as if I have suddenly found myself in the middle of a Stephen King short story — or maybe a novella. I'm reminded of another story, by Ray Bradbury, from The Illustrated Man (I think)*, when the machines take over. My iPhone is only half charged ...
My first instinct was to grab a flashlight and go investigate. I've seen enough horror movies to know that's not such a hot idea. Besides, it 's cold out — we're experiencing a cold snap here in Florida — and I don't fancy walking down four flights of stairs just to hear what I already know — the building's dark.
But until when? At least this happened late enough that we should all sleep through most of the blackout. The kid was already in bed. I was more concerned about my mom, who lately wants to sleep with a light on, but I gave her one of the bigger flashlights to brighten her room. Hopefully the lights will be restored before the batteries wear out.
So here I am typing, not sleepy, and thinking about the dark. There's a big bright full moon outside tonight. It's brighter out there, in the cold, than in here.
Addendum: It was a transformer, and the buildings power wasn't restored until 12:30 p.m. the next day. The kid had to spend a cold spring break afternoon amusing herself without electronics, just like Little House on the Prairie, and I had to throw out all the perishables in the fridge.
* Actually I was thinking of "There Will Come Soft Rains" from The Martian Chronicles