I admit that I haven’t thought about it in a while, but I was reminded this morning on the TV news that today is the anniversary of the blackout of 2003.
The offices of BNP Media, SNIPS’ parent company, were among those affected, as was much of the Midwest and East Coast. An estimated 50 million people lost power.
After the offices went dark and our computers shut down — wish I had pressed “save” one more time — I headed home with a co-worker whom I carpooled with at the time.
We didn’t head straight for the freeway, opting instead for surface streets. Big mistake. Not realizing how widespread the outage was, we discovered all traffic lights were out and traffic was backed up at every intersection.
Crawling through traffic, my friend’s car overheated. Waiting for it to cool in a grocery store parking lot, we watched the surrounding neighborhood streets fill and people walk out of their houses into the heat of a Michigan mid-August afternoon.
Finally arriving at my home about two hours after I’d left work, I realized the groceries I had bought just a couple days earlier would likely be thrown out. I ate what I didn’t need to be cooked from my fridge and commiserated with neighbors about the situation.
The next day, after sleeping fitfully without air conditioning or even a fan, my neighbors were generous enough to share some chicken and beer with me that would otherwise have gone to waste — at least the chicken. The beer probably would have been OK.
It wasn’t until late Sunday afternoon that weekend — almost four days later — that the power came back on at my house.
I was left with a souvenir: the digital display on my microwave oven had burned out as the power flickered and it never would come back.
Do any of you have any memories of the blackout? What effect did it have on your businesses?