Saturday, September 07, 2013
This began Thursday. Well, actually it began a few days before Thursday when the thermometer went above 85. Seven people run their air conditioner in Los Angeles and half the city goes out. I love LA, but the moment weather conditions aren’t ideal the entire county is crippled. Local newscasters actually break in with bulletins when there are “trace” amounts of rain. One inch of rain in any 48 hour period results in STORM WATCH coverage. Because we get so little rain in the summer, the freeways get slick with oil and so the first eight drops of the fall results in massive ten car pile-ups.
When the temperature plummets down to 40 there are frost warnings. Once people can see their breath schools close. We're ill prepared for any calamity more serious than Costco closing two checkout lines.
And whenever there’s a heat wave there are power outages. You’d think Southern California would recognize by now that it gets hot every year but apparently not. Last summer I was in Dallas with the Mariners. It was something like the 40th straight day of 100+ temperatures. Every light was on. They ran the air conditioning full blast in Cowboy Stadium with not so much as a flicker in all of Texas. Los Angeles goes three days when you don’t need a sweater and we have rolling blackouts.
So Thursday afternoon at about 4:00 our power went out. We called the Department of Water & Power and got a recorded message. Several communities were experiencing problems – including ours – and service was due to be back at 4:06 Friday morning. (How can they determine to the minute when it’ll be back?)
Friday morning the power was back, but then at about 5:00 in the afternoon we had a brownout. This is where the power company decreases the voltage they send to your house. So in our case, lights went on dimly, the TV and cable worked, but there wasn’t enough juice to power computers and certainly not for air conditioners. Does your microwave beep when it doesn’t get enough voltage? Does your landline beep for the same reason? Ours did. Our house was a thousand degrees and sounded like NORAD during amber alerts.
The good news was the construction nimrods next door couldn’t run their jackhammers. If it didn't mean living like a tribe in SURVIVOR I'd keep the electricity off just to spare us the noise from these home improvement specialists.
Then the power went out completely again. It came back later that night and since you’re reading this, it stayed on for at least a half hour.
Now, all of this is just a minor inconvenience certainly. It’s amazing how untethered we have become when we can’t tweet. And my heart goes out to all of you who had real misery, who were without power for weeks following disasters such as Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Katrina. This is not so much a rant about the hardships I’ve had to endure – like I said, it was an annoyance at best. Everyone’s power goes off from time to time. And it’s not like I missed COVERT AFFAIRS. But it points out yet again, how this goofy city is forever overwhelmed by even the slightest adversity.
No wonder people laugh at us. We apply for Federal Relief Aid when there is humidity.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM