Saturday, November 03, 2007

Wee hours

I finally got home and settled into bed at around 1:00AM this morning.

Not much more than an hour later, the power went out. I sleep with a fan running in my room. When it stops, I notice it. My cell phone also thought it became unplugged, and made a little noise. This woke me up.

My apartment gets completely and totally dark when the power goes out at night. I like darkness. Most nights that my wife is at work, pretty much every light in the whole place is off. I don't need a night light. In fact, I'll often throw a towel or something over the alarm clocks to kill the last of the green glow in the bedroom. Darkness doesn't creep me out at all. Complete and total silence, however, seems like sensory deprivation torture to me. It doesn't take much. The gentle whirr of a fan at its lowest speed does the trick nicely.

The power was of for maybe a minute. I barely had time to open my eyes. I drifted off into restful sleep again. Moments later, the power failed again, but only for a few seconds. Then, at about 2:30, power stopped. Period. After a few minutes, I called my wife at work to see if the campus 4 miles from home still had power. Indeed, they did. After a few minutes of sitting in bed in complete and total darkness and silence, I decided to report the outage.

After another 10 minutes of making some vain attempt to sleep in my own little sensory deprivation hell, I decided to forget it. At this point, it was closing in on 3:00AM. I looked out all the windows and saw no light except for the stars, the faint glow of a few cellphones on porches and candles through windows. I decided to see how far the power outage had spread.

By only starlight, I went out back and grabbed my Sorrento. I took the lighting off of my road bike by feel, and then shuffled to our office, where only a few small LEDs provided lighting. My network hardware is powered by battery backup. My eyes were more than able to use what little light was available to find my NiteRider helmet mount. Strapping it to the helmet? Different story. I resorted to firing up the DiNotte on low, which lit up my whole apartment. All geared up and ready to roll, I took off into the murky air. Temperature: 39 degrees.

I saw the guy who lives under the tree behind the gas station. He always scurries and hides from my headlights in the morning. He was sleeping now, though. Yes, there's actually a (presumably homeless) guy who lives under a tree near my apartment.

Going up the Quivira viaduct, it was completely dark on the north side, but lit up on the south. The outage was apparently close to 2 square miles from what I could tell, and I could see pretty far in every direction. Since I was already out, I kept riding down to the college. Once there, I putzed around on my mountain bike for a bit, then went inside to hang out with my wife until it was quitting time. We swung back by home so that I could grab my wallet to buy breakfast, and the lights were back on.

After breakfast, I finally got some sleep. What a night. It was an interesting way to log some miles in the wee hours of the morning.


A Midnight Rider said...

I also awoke to no power this morning. However I was asked by the neighbors is the transformer explosion woke me. I heard nothing, wife heard nothing, and obviously the dogs were not startled.

I realize silence can be deafening for some, but I hear silence that well.

The most intriguing part of your post is that for one night, you were amidnightrider. Nice

Noah said...

Indeed, I do get to go out in the wee hours on occasion, but not as much as I'd like.

I've been on a couple of commuterdude's rides. And then there's the official Lenexa midnight bike ride as well as a few others along the way. I like riding at night, but it's mostly because I have the road pretty much to myself.

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