Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath


Well, I had an interesting day yesterday.

At about 4:30, me and another guy were getting on the elevator to go downstairs for a drink/snack. As we got on the elevator, the lights started flickering, so we immediately got out before the door closed. Right then, the power went out on the whole fucking eastern seaboard. I got to see the emergency procedure of shutting down about a dozen machines that require heavy-duty AC, beeping and complaining as their backup power supplies tried to crash-land them. The machine room was prepared for the contingency – except for not having any backup lights. Oops.

We thought it was a building problem, but within a few phone calls, found out power was really out all over New York, New Jersey, even as far away as Detroit and Ohio. Without a computer, I had nothing to do, so I hit the road. I really didn’t want to walk, but at least I had my iPod, and I was lucky enough to wear shorts that day. Unfortunately, I only had about $2 in cash on me, and the ATMs weren’t going to be working with no power.

The walk reminded me way too much of 9/11, and I even took the same route for the first part of the trip. This time, there were way more people flooding the streets and sidewalks, and the temps were much higher, probably in the mid-90s. I was instantly dehydrated, and cut over to Park to hump my way north to 59th street. People on the street from bodegas and restaurants were selling their bottled water for about 100% above retail. I hope these bastards get anally gang-raped by well-hing, syphilitic SARS patients in the near future.

I finally bought a can of Sunkist for $2 before I hit the Queensborough bridge. (If you saw Spiderman, this is the bridge at the very end, with the battle with Green Goblin.) I have rode my bike across the bridge many times, and there is a separate lower deck for pedestrians, so you don’t walk as high, and it has no cars on it. As I followed the swarm of people to the bridge, I realized we weren’t going the right way. And a second later, I found myself walking on TOP of the bridge, on the upper deck, next to cars. It was very freaked out, being up there with no guard rails or sidewalks, marching next to a line of pretty much parked traffic.

After the long bridge, my body was ready to shut down from dehydration. I barely managed to cross the 39th street bridge over the Sunnyside rail yard and was desperately trying to find a way to simply give up and carjack someone, when I ran into a spa on 39th and Northern that was scrambling to give away all of their ice and big tubs of water with dixie cups. I drank about six glasses of water, the best water I’ve ever had in my life, and then saw that next door, a firehouse had a hose set up with a sprinkler. I put aside my bag and completely drenched myself from head to toe, which immensely helped me stumble the last few miles home.

Round trip: 8 miles. Just over 3 hours. Not too shabby. Of course, I can barely feel my legs today, but I made it.

I didn’t have anything to eat other than snack food and powerbars when I got home, but I really didn’t feel like eating after all that walking. I drank as much water as I could, and luckily I still had running water. I finished reading Skunk Works by flashlight, made a few phone calls (that still worked, miraculously) and tried to sleep. And tried. And tried. Outside, it was a fucking party until after midnight, so I put in earplugs, soaked a towel, and covered myself with it. No fans = sucks.

The power kicked in at about 4AM, turning on my lights and fans. I got a few hours of good sleep, until my boss called and told me to stay put. Turns out a big chunk of Manhattan is still screwed, as are the subways. So I get a day off. Too bad half of the cable channels are out.

I’m going to go take a nap in front of a fan, then hit an ATM and get a bunch of real food. Hope all’s well where you’re sitting.