by Dennis Greene
Safe inside our well-constructed home sand surrounded by an amazing network of electronic communication systems, we generally feel protected from those forces of nature that threatened and terrified our forbears. Even when we hear about earthquakes, cyclones, or tidal waves somewhere else, and we feel some level of concern and sympathy, we don’t feel the gut-wrenching fear of those who came before us and knew nature better than we do. But every once in a while, Mother Nature gives us a little nudge to remind us that she is watching us and can, with a gesture, wipe out our secure little nests at any time.
About six weeks ago, I got such a nudge. After leaving BOLLI at noon, I rushed to the golf course to get in a quick nine. The weather was sunny and warm, but there was a chance of some thunderstorm activity in late afternoon. I spent a pleasant two hours strolling the fairways at Nehoiden and then headed home for a nap. By 4:30, I was fast asleep next to an open window, oblivious to the world. I had given no thought to the approach of a violent “micro storm.”
At 5:15, I was startled into consciousness by a soaking wall of water driven through my window by violent wind. I was in bed, facing the window, and as my eyes popped open, I heard an explosion and saw a bright flash of white light surrounded by a red penumbra. It looked like a bomb exploding right outside my window, and there was no interval between the boom and the flash.
The house shook, but since I saw no other damage, and our lights remained on, I rolled over to the dry side of the bed and tried to continue my nap. It didn’t last long. Eileen yelled from downstairs that we had no internet or television service, all our phones were dead, and a message on her cell phone indicated that some isolated areas were experiencing severe micro-storms. I guess we were one of those isolated areas.
Hours later, I learned from a message on my cell phone that the “outage” in our neighborhood lasted for forty minutes, but service had been restored. Many hours after that, at 3:15 a.m., I reached Comcast to let them know that the outage continued at my house. They confirmed that our house had no service and offered to send a technician, but since they had numerous other calls, the earliest available service would be no sooner than Thursday afternoon. For the next two days, our household was barely functional. I couldn’t use the internet or read emails, and I missed the Celtics playoff game. On Thursday evening, after a very responsive young technician worked at our house for almost two hours, we learned from him that our modem, three tv control boxes, and all our telephones had been rendered inoperable. When he returned on Friday morning to replace the modem and control boxes, we discovered that our new 55” smart TV and our Apple Airport router had also been fried. The next day, we began the daunting task of replacing the five telephones, beginning the warrantee process with Costco for our TV, and trying to reconnect all our devices and printers to our home network. The disruption seemed interminable, but after four frustrating weeks we were finally reconnected and back to normal. But we are now much more aware of how subject we are to nature’s whims.
This is a warning to all of you to retain some of that primeval fear you were born with and to respect Mother Nature. She has her eyes on each of us and can hurl devastation upon you before you can blink.
Dennis spent five years as an engineer and then forty as a lawyer–and sixty as a pop culture geek and junkie. He’s been writing blog articles for BOLLI Matters in quite a variety of genres: science fiction, movie and video picks, creative nonfiction, and memoir. And now, he’s even taken on the weather!