A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

preparing for the storm

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on December 22, 2008

My neighborhood is always quiet early in the morning, but the hush was different on Saturday. It was a snow hush – the quiet that comes from the presence of a soft white coverlet, draped over everything from tree branches to car hoods.

My office closed early on Friday afternoon, along with a number of others. It wasn’t the absolute volume of snow – we had three inches, at most. But three inches in a city that relies heavily on public transportation and that rarely gets any snowfall was more like seven or eight inches in Iowa. I was glad that we were sent home – I took a book in case the trains to Brooklyn were slow (or stuck), but it was a relief to be able to be cozily ensconced in my apartment by 5:00, rather than after the dark and cold had truly settled in.

This is how my street looked, early Saturday morning:

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Its been a big weather week for the entire continental United States – or, in honor of Abu Owlfish, perhaps I should describe it as a Weather week. From Seattle to New York, the country seems covered in snow, ice, and freezing temperatures.

My parents lost power last week – briefly, they said, but still a rare occurrence.

I realized that I have no idea where our flashlights are, my mother said to me after recounting how my father had turned on both (electric) fireplaces. And even if I did, I doubt they have fresh batteries.

Part of the problem, I think, is that American houses (like most modern homes) are designed with the expectation of a steady and relatively inexpensive flow of electric current that not only lights but also heats and cools. I wouldn’t know where to find flashlights at my parents’ house either – and I doubt that the two electric fireplaces would be able to provide much heat.

But I am prepared for power emergencies – after living in Lebanon, I know almost instinctively what to do when the power goes out.

I know where my flashlight is – stuck to the hood of the stove (its magnetic) for easy access. I know where my candles are, as well as my matches and two back-up lighters. And I know that I can keep myself warm by bringing a chair into the kitchen and turning on the stove. (Actually, this I learned years ago from friends with a semi-legal sublet in Chinatown – but it came in handy in Beirut.)

Its good to be prepared for emergencies – but it was better to be home on Friday with the power on, so I could wake to a warm apartment, a hot cup of tea, and a fast Internet connection on Saturday.

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3 Responses to “preparing for the storm”

  1. Kheireddine said

    You must see Montreal this morning! -12C, wind chill -21C & 25 cm of snow on the ground.
    I am also prepared for emergencies with flashlights and candles. Actually I loose power one night a year, when the yearly maintenance of electrical network of my building is due 😉

  2. […] preparing for the storm […]

  3. intlxpatr said

    LLOOLLL – I’m a flashlight girl! I have a wonderful flashlight that you CRANK! It doesn’t use batteries! Woooo HOOOOO!

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