Lost Power Means More Fellowship

I was about to order some delicious Greek food at Taverna grill. Drinks were served, and someone was going to pay for my meal. It was going to be a good night.

The lights got suddenly brighter, flickered, and a bunch of lights I hadn’t even known existed turned on, leaving the once highly-decorated and classy dining room with an eerie glow. Temporary power outage, it seemed. Several minutes pass, and two others join our party. One of them says it’s crazy outside. Half of the town lost power, according to what he saw.

He was right. APSN reported that a main transformer exploded and cut power to NAU’s campus, most of west Flagstaff, and Prescott.

The bartender at the restaurant stopped spitting fire because at that point it had lost its novelty. I got this sinking feeling that the end of the world was at hand, but I knew that was absurd. The people I was with were all news junkies, so we tried to contact a co-worker to update NAZToday.com with information.

It became apparent after 20 minutes that the electric grills and dimly lit kitchens weren’t going to provide us any food. I hitched a ride home with one of the latecomers, and we observe long lines of traffic caused by non-functional traffic lights, crowds people on the sidewalks, emergency vehicles responding to incidences, and blotches of the city that somehow did have power.

When I got home, I dropped off my bags and headed back out to gather video with my point and shoot. As I walked to the scene of a steam leak on campus, I noticed that almost everyone was hanging out in the halls, outside and in rooms. This is what it must be like in a world without Internet, I thought.

Members of the singing group NAU Elevation sing during Thursday night's widespread power outage. Photo by Gean Shanks.

Members of the group NAU Elevation sing during Thursday night's widespread power outage. Photo by Gean Shanks.

The walk was unusually dark. Some pedestrians even lacked silhouettes and popped out of the darkness as I passed them. Police and firefighters were finishing up at the steam leak scene and no PIO was available for questions. But there just happened to be a small crowd gathered across the street, where a group of people were singing.

It was no ordinary, run of the mill hippie group. It was NAU Evolution, a medium-sized acapella group that had happened to be slated to perform in one of the nearby residence halls when the outage pushed them outdoors.

The one thing I took from the hour west Flagstaff didn’t have power: People gather when something special happens. It was refreshing seeing and talking to so many new faces that would, at that hour, only have been seen on Facebook. I kinda wish everyday life was like that, but once the street lights slowly began to warm up, the crowd dispersed and the normal resumed as if nothing happened.

Word has yet to be given on the official cause of the outage, but it really was the best power outage ever.

On the net:
NAU Elevation Facebook page
NAZ Today Article on the Power Outage
APSN News Service

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About The Author

Kyle Anderson
I'm a media and IT professional and JavaScript developer who worked most recently as an Associate Broadcast IT Engineer (Tier II) for CNN in Atlanta. One of my life-long goals is to help bridge data divides - missing connections between software systems and data stores - promoting inter-system communication and automation. Many of the projects described here reflect this goal in some way or another.