Here in the Washington area, we are recovering from something called a thundersnow.
After escaping the monster storms that have ripped through the East Coast this winter, we got our due Wednesday and Thursday, with thunder, lightning and six inches of the wettest, heaviest snow and ice we’ve seen in recent times. Many, if not most, people—Democrats and Republicans alike—lost their power.
Our little town outside the city experienced added drama following the collapse of our power substation. For a time, around 8:00 p.m., we had total daylight with flashes of bright red sky. I wondered why I was the only person on my street out shoveling until the eight-year-old next door came out and begged me to go inside. “You’ll get struck by lightning,” he repeated until I obeyed.
I adapted reasonably well to loss of electricity, heat and hot water. Then, my trusty iPhone, and my lifeline to the outside world, lost about 90 percent of its functionality.
Once the thunder died down, I realized just how quiet life is without power. I don’t listen to television or music while I’m working; there’s usually enough noise in my head. Otherwise, my home is filled with the sounds of music, television, ringtones and appliance buzzers. In the absence of these devices, the quiet became uncomfortable.
From time to time I took refuge in my car, enjoying the heated seats and charging my phone in hopes that it might come back to life in time to entertain me. But when I found myself sitting in the car, alone in the driveway, singing Copacabana—loudly—along with Barry Manilow, I realized that maybe quiet isn’t so bad.
Everyone will have a memory from Thundersnow 2011. Mine is one simply of neighbors who care enough to tell you to come in out of the storm and help you clear your driveway when your spouse is away, and people with power who invite you to spend a warm night. And Barry Manilow.
P.S. Stolen from the person who hosted me last night (and the first half of my life): “The federal government put out an advisory that only those with essential jobs should report to work. Joe Biden built a snowman.”