Friday, June 18, 2010

The Power Goes Out . . . What Do You Think Of First?

I was *ahem* conducting some business in the restroom when the power blinked out once, twice, for a second or less each time. Then once more. Then the lights stayed on. No worries! But what if they had stayed off? What is the first thought that runs through your mind when the electric power at your house is cut off?

  • zOMG I forgot to save the file!
  • zOMG American Idle cuts off with no TV power!
  • zOMG Pooping in the dark!
  • zOMG somebody about to break into the house!

    What? Break into . . . now you're cracked

    Been cracked. But seriously, you should at least consider the possibility. When the power goes out where I live, the first thing I do is think where the nearest firearm is. Usually it's in intimate contact with my hip. Then I stop, look, and listen. Think about it: nobody (well, nobody but me) has a land line telephone anymore. It's a good bet the main home phone in any given house is on a Voice-Over-Internet Protocol setup through the home computer or else it's a cell phone. Cut the computer's power, and the phone is out. To call 911 your victim has to have a cell phone handy. Do you keep your cell phone on you when you get home, or do you drop it on the bar with your keys and wallet when you get home?

    So let's say your power goes out. Shush everyone and head for the nearest flashlight if you don't have one in your pocket. Put one hand on the grip of the nearest gun, and have a peek around the darkness and listen. Just stand still for a minute and look around. If a door comes flying off its hinges that's going to be fairly obvious. If a window starts to creep open, that might be less obvious. Do you hear anyone trying the doorknobs? If, after a moment passes, nobody is obviously trying to break your home, have a look out the windows. Is the neighbor across the street also sitting in a dark house? Maybe the residential power line has a blown fuse or transformer. Is the street light out? Maybe the electrical service to the whole area has been knocked out. Probably you're fine in either of those cases.

    Yes, this call for caution applies during a storm also. Just because it's wet out, doesn't mean a Goblin won't try to break in to your home. Actually, a time of innocuous loud booming noises (thunder) would tend to make your neighbors think the shots which murdered you and your loved ones were just "noise" and nothing over which to be concerned.

    IF there appears to be no sign of trouble, get your most powerful torch and switch it on. Point the beam UP to the ceiling. The light will reflect and refract, providing a gentle dim illumination, and generally be nicer to use than pointing the beam directly at whatever you want to be seeing. Plus, it prevents you shining the light in your Darling Wife's eyes.

    Don't worry it's probably nothing sinister when your lights go out. But just in case, I strongly recommend keeping at least a pistola and a small flashlight handy. If you don't mind the extra burden, I think it's also a good idea to keep your phone, wallet, pocket knife, keys, etc. right where they were all day: on your person. Usually you won't need any of these items but the pocket knife. But if you suddenly need them, do you really want to have to hunt for them? Really?
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