Tuesday, December 07, 2004

What a wild night

I was already up late last night waiting on my wife to finish a rather important family chore, fixing up some old family pictures for her mother on the computer for a Christmas collage, when the night became even later and the circumstances moved from the tired but sublime to the ridiculous and strange.

At about 1:10am this morning, I was nearing the end of my rope and had just gotten myself (finally) ready for bed at an unusually late hour when the electrical power in our apartment (and the entire building, for that matter) began to flicker in a manner that could only be described as violent. This sudden foray into the twilight zone was further assisted along by hearing my wife utter those two little words which she is never known to say: “Oh shit!” Upon hearing my spouse call upon excrement in vain, I immediately looked toward the window (I should note here that the power was still flickering, it appeared as though it was about to expire, and the lights, fish tank filters, and other appliances which use electricity were making suspicious noises) I noticed blue sparks flying through the air accompanied by flashes of blue light. I couldn’t see the fireworks display as clearly as could my wife, as I was on the other side of the room, but I could see it clearly enough to say that it was quite spectacular. From the looks of it, you’d think it was Independence Day around here, instead of Advent. The display lasted a little over 30 seconds, but it seemed like an eternity. To my surprise, immediately after what appeared to be a transformer explosion, the power came back on. Everything seemed fine momentarily, and then I heard two men running up Montana Avenue screaming at the top of their lungs. I asked my wife what they were saying, and she reported to me that they were telling people who were moving down the sidewalk toward the apparent scene of the explosion to get back, that an automobile had smashed into an electrical pole, and that this was the reason for the explosion. From the looks of it, these guys were local residents attempting to ensure that no one got too terribly close to a very dangerous scene.

If the action ended there, this story might not even be worthy of a good weblog entry, but since this is Cincinnati, that means the story doesn’t end there. Immediately after the screaming men came down Montana, my wife turned to me with a look of urgency and reported that the power lines outside of our building were on fire for as far as she could see. “Call Cinergy,” my wife demanded. I was on the line with the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company, trying to get through on their so-called emergency line to report a fire (the phone menu gave me a series of options, after which I pushed for option 2, which was supposed to put me through to someone to report the problem. I was on hold indefinitely, and five minutes seemed like an eternity. Not knowing what else to do, I called 911. Thankfully, the emergency operator on the other end of the line knew what was happening, and he said the electric company had indeed been summoned, and were on the way. By the time the fire trucks left the scene of the accident that had started the whole affair, the casing of the power lines had burned away, but the electric company had finally arrived. Not long after, our power went out for the night since the power company finally cut the lines to repair them, and we had to get ready for bed. Police blocked Montana Avenue from the corner of Wunder Avenue (where my residence is) all the way to Harrison Avenue, three blocks away. This morning, power was back on, but police were still not letting anyone down the road from Wunder to Harrison, though they let those of us who live in that sector leave our residences. A wild night indeed in Westwood, and not one bit of it was in the major local media this morning.


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