Blackout of 2003: If the World Is Coming to An End, Stock Up on Beer and Batteries

I was just on Facebook and reminded that today was exactly 10 years from the Blackout of 2003 when the northeastern seaboard was dark for approximately 48 hours.

At the time, although, not a professional writer just yet, I still had a penchant for keeping track of historical events. Since I had directly experienced something so significant, a few days after the event, I sent this email to my friends and family out of state so they could hear firsthand my experience.

I enjoyed myself immensely, spending time with my neighbors that I wouldn’t normally have.

My memories of how it felt to be surrounded in a city, but without electricity or potable water are vivid and powerful. It felt so relaxing. I could literally feel the tension draining from my body with the removal of the electric lines buzzing nearby. And I loved the stillness of having the lights all completely off at night.

Hope you enjoy this history lesson. The moral of the story is:

If the World Is Coming to An End, Stock Up on Beer and Batteries

Hey Everybody! Thought you guys might be interested to hear about the GREAT BLACKOUT OF 2003! 🙂 I was off work on Thursday when it happened, getting ready to go to the grocery store.  Of course, I thought it was just a normal, minor power outage, and I went outside to see if anybody else on my block was affected.

At first nobody was around so I just hung around, looking for my flashlights and trying to call the electric company and kept getting a busy signal. Finally, some
neighbors were outside so I went out to chat with them and that was when I found out how widespread it was.

Yikes!  So, naturally, I got worried, I didn’t have much food in the house, and very little that I could eat without cooking it– I have an electric stove. 🙁

So I decided to go see if the grocery stores were open, they weren’t, but a local pharmacy was. So I stopped and got water and batteries, and BEER, all the
necessities! 🙂

I spent the evening with my neighbors, sitting outside and looking at the stars and marveling at how dark it was. Normally, we can barely even see the stars.

The next morning I woke up at six without my alarm clock, it was very bizarre. I sat outside on my deck eating half-melted ice cream bars for breakfast and hoping that the power would stay off for long enough that I wouldn’t have to go to work.

Well, I had to go in to work until they decided that we weren’t getting power that day, and around eleven thirty they sent us home.

People everywhere were lined up at grocery stores and drug stores that were letting people in one or two at a time or some of them were just coming to the door and taking orders, and everyone had to pay with cash.

People were also going crazy looking for gas. They kept announcing on the radio where the open gas stations were. Some people were even waiting at gas stations that weren’t open!

Home Depot was rushed on by people wanting to buy generators, crazy! There was some looting, but only in the worst areas of Detroit. I didn’t see any but I heard reports of it on the news.

I went with my neighbor to a party store (that’s what we call convenience/liquor stores here) to get more beer. We had to wait in line outside the store and each party would be let in and walked through the store with flashlights and we had to pay with even change. I didn’t have any problem at all with price gouging anywhere I went.

Since I didn’t have any food, my neighbors invited me to eat with them. We sat
outside all afternoon barbecuing and drinking beer. I had a blast!
The power came on about five p.m. in my neighborhood on Friday, but many places were without power until Saturday or Sunday. We were and still are being told to boil our water because they are still waiting for the results of the contamination tests.

But everything is pretty much back to normal. I hope everyone is doing well. Love, Martha