Monday, November 13, 2006

School's Out for Power Outage

Remember in high school those blessed chance days when the power would go out and not come back on and everyone got sent home early?

The kids at this school won't remember days like that. No, no, they'll remember learning geometry in the dark.

The power at the school went out today around 12.00 noon. We all expected the lights to merely flicker a few times and then come back on. But as time passed, and the power never came back, we began to wonder what would happen. It was the school's Open Evening tonight as well so we knew at some point they'd have to sort out something, as the Open Evening is such a huge event, but we did expect the staff to at least send the kids home. Especially when the temperature started dropping.

And the sun started to go down.

It gets dark around here around 4.00 these days, and earlier if it's a bad day, which today was. So at 3.30 when the kids did leave, the school was freezing cold and nearly pitch black.

As an employee who had only a few things to do today, I totally loved it - for a while. But it started to get pretty old when things would pop into my head that I needed to work on, and I'd turn to my computer just to remember it was off. I'd brought in a book today to read after hours, as I'd volunteered to stay on late to answer the phone calls from people asking about the Open Evening, but it was too dark to read. I also had my Christmas cards with me in case I got bored, but it was too dark for that too.

And did I mention I was freezing?

At one point, I had my coat on, a blanket over my legs and my hands jammed in my pockets.

And there was no tea. No electricity meant no kettle which meant no tea.

It also meant no water, as the water machine is plugged into the wall. I ended up drinking milk (which never got warm in the fridge surprisingly enough) out of a tea mug, which didn't warm me up much.

No electricity also meant the security door didn't work. Which meant people were able to walk in without buzzing us first. When night fell, Pamela (the receptionist) and I sat in the cold dark contemplating what we'd do if Jack the Ripper arrived. She actually got spooked enough to tell me that I couldn't stay down there once she left at 5.15 if the power weren't back on.

I said I didn't mind staying even if in the dark to answer the phones. A few minutes later, around 4.45, Pamela was cut off the phone when the phones all went out.

By this time no one else was still in the building; they'd all gone home to get ready for the Open Evening.

So there we were, in the dark, freezing cold and no phones.

I was so ready to pack up and leave.

Then the power came back on.

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