A flashback to highschool: a momentary lesson in typhlology?

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Typhlology

Like many in the tristate area this week of tropical storm Isaias adding yet another challenge to our 2020 lives, did you have a spontaneous, necessary barbecue the night of Thursday, August 14, 2003? What do you remember doing during the great Northeastern blackout? Is it all coming back?

It was late afternoon. I was on a phone call, at work. The call died and the office went dark. Two floors below street level, my co-workers and I groped our way through the hallways to the stairwell, bypassed the elevator, to find out the whole museum had gone dark, and the whole of Brooklyn, and the whole of greater New York area, and yes, the entire Northeast, it turned out. We left work early. I rode my bike home, and picked up my daughter from school. She and I went hunting for a flashlight and candles. Darkened stores set up improvised counters in their doorways to sell flashlights, batteries, candles and matches. At home we warmed up leftovers from the dark fridge, on the stove—glad it ran on gas—enough to eat, not too much to get spoiled.
Subways weren’t running. My wife got stuck in the city. One of her co-workers knew of a friend who was on vacation, whose apartment was within walking distance. The two of them spent the night on the ninth floor, got there by elevator and watched TV, granted by the grace of the building’s own generator.

After dinner, my daughter and I sat on our stoop enjoying the neighborhood in the gray of dusk. It was a beautiful and comfortable summer evening—no wind, no rain. Homes were dark, but for the candles. Streetlights were off, and somehow there weren’t any cars coming down our street. It was peaceful. We enjoyed taking it all in. At some point the B67 passed in our peripheral vision, a delightful sight, a startling sight as the bus was awash with light. The brightness of the colors of the passengers’ clothes hurt my eyes, taking me back in time, to high school, flashing back to biology class, and learning of rods and cones, and why one sees the world in black and white for a split second upon waking.

1 thought on “A flashback to highschool: a momentary lesson in typhlology?”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story, Erik! Your adventure back in 2003 sounds almost fun and exciting compared to what we’re all going through now. Wishing you the very best in 2021!

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