Blacked Out

“And as I massacred the al-Queda terrorists with the semi in my left hand, and flame-broiled the rioters and looters with the napalm dispenser in my right, I thought to myself, “Who needs light when you have heat?”

“Afterwards, I surveyed the heaps of bodies and said to myself, ‘Sanitation is picking up tomorrow morning. How convenient.'”

And if you believe that . . . .

Really, the only major casualties in New York from this blackout were the cellphones. Millions of people were left with nothing else to do in their cars but drive them. How frightening.

When you live in a city where al-Queda kills occasionally, a city that taught the world how to loot during the last blackout, last night hardly ranks.

I’ve seen news accounts that made New York sound like it was holding a S.W.A.T convention, but outside of a few police cars putting on a free light show now and then, there was no red alert. More like an occasional yellow-to-white flicker.

Where I live, it was quiet, outside of an inpromptu concert put on someone with a decidedly non-electric guitar and songs that would have oldies back in the ’77 blackout. It was simple. It was nice.

The real stars of the night were the stars. It’s not easy seeing a lot of stars in New York City; there’s so much competition on the ground. But this was a night when the Great White Way gave way to the Milky Way, so some of the dimmer bulbs in the sky got to shine.

It was a warm night, uncomfortable, but not cruel. It was a good night to sit outside, away from the virtual little worlds of television and the Internet we all too often carve ourselves out to carve ourselves out of our real neighborhoods. This night, those chimeras vanished, and in a small way, we lived for a few hours a little like our ancestors.

But unlike our ancestors, our experience was a visit, not a stay.

I am not against electricity, or cellphones, or lights at night, or those little bundles of joy we get when we run electicity through fast sand.

But often, we get so immersed in those worlds of man’s creation that we forget there is anything else.

There are other worlds out there too, just waiting to be noticed. They have their own beauty, too. Perhaps most importantly, their existence puts the little ones we make for ourselves into perspective.


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