So, I'll tell you my Blackout '03 story:
I was sitting in my office, slacking off, thinking I should get something good done, when it got really quiet. The AC had gone off. Then the fan slowed down, and the lights went, and then the computers, all in quick succession. The fire alarm went off an instant later, and Mary Jo (my officemate) and I looked at each other, said something like "here we go," grabbed our bags, and headed for the fire exit, which was right across from our office. I am sort of ashamed to say that we didn't go to get anyone else and make sure they got out. Then again, we're not appointed Fire Wardens or Searchers, so our job is to get our own asses out so those folks don't have to search for us.
The bad news - I was wearing a white skirt, a cotton sleeveless sweater with a mock t-neck, and 2.5" chunky-heel slides (Aerosoles, so not as brutal as it could be, but still not walking shoes.)
The 15 flights down were not fun in those shoes, plus I have a fear of falling down concrete stairs like the fire stairs. Luckily, the emergency lighting was on, so it was quite bright in the stairwell. Of course, no one had any idea what was going on, but it was very calm and people just moved. When we hit the street, we headed towards what we thought was the designated meeting area, but we were totally wrong.
It didn't matter much because we ran into my upstairs neighbor, who works with us, John. He was looking for his wife, Amy, who works at a competing agency across the street. Their emergency meeting place was in the hotel right there, but she apparently forgot. No cell phone service, though I was able to see that I was getting voicemails, and I was texting Ryan, but it said it didn't go through (it did, and he got "u ok?" four times, hehehe, but couldn't reply!). Mary Jo left to go try and get to NJ, and John and I found Amy and set off downtown, on foot.
I just mapquested it, and it is 7 miles from my office to my apartment. In heely slides and 90-degree weather. Ick. My feet hurt so much and my clothes were almost totally soaked through halfway home. We also discovered that it takes 44 blocks to run out of conversation. Found some empty payphones and called our Mommies. My Mom was powerless, too, and had been out at Fortunoff buying us some placesettings with a store credit when it happened. Such sacrifice!
We bought water for a reasonable $1.50 a bottle, no price-gouging for us. I was pleased to see that. It was wild walking across the Manhattan Bridge. They closed off the inbound lanes, and it was just a sea of pedestrians. Like a tremendous March of Dimes, except no one was dressed for it. It was around then that I started really worrying about the fishtank - Ryan has a 55 gallon saltwater tank, and we've been told they can only go about 4-5 hours without filtration and aeration. I was really sad, almost crying, about the fishies.
Major stroke of luck in Brooklyn. We happened to walk down Livingston Street, and saw a lit-up ATM. This small bank had a generator, and the guys who worked there said it was the only ATM in the city and made "cha-ching" sounds, which was funny, in the situation. We each took out $200, just in case.
4 hours after we set out (the first hour was spent gathering and finding Amy), we walked up the steps to our apartments. Boy was I happy to see Ryan, who had been there for nearly 3 hours, since he was downtown when the whole thing started and just wandered on home. The fish were alive, and he had changed some of the water and was hand-aerating it in an effort to keep them alive. I stripped, showered, and soaked my feet. We sat in the car with the AC on for a while, listening to the news, then came in and ate feta cheese, olives, pickles, and chinese dumplings by candlelight. I have so many scented candles I think this should be called Aromatherapy Blackout '03!
We hit the car for a bit again around 10:30, then came in and went to sleep. I slept like a baby after that walk! We were awakened to still no power but loud garbage trucks around 7:30. We walked into the livingroom and found...LIVE FISHIES!! All of them! At 8, while we were gaping at the fish, suddenly the filter bubbled to life, and we both did a little happy dance. Yay electricity!
Cable and Internet didn't come back until about 2, while we were out getting Frappucinos. Good-luck Frappucinos, it appears! They say there may still be rolling blackouts, so we're trying to go easy on the power, but we need the AC to keep the fishtank cool and I just can't deal without the internet right now! I hope everyone else is faring well!