We’re supposed to be hurtling through the sky in fusion powered flying-cars. But 2015 has not started out as advertised. I have not slept since 3 AM and I’ve been shivering since before dawn. Sometime in the wee hours, the power went out in my neighborhood. How or why remains a giant mystery, we had a little bit of wintery drizzle in Austin, it was somewhat cold, and there were kids setting off fireworks all night long. Still, you’d think a modern power grid could handle those things. Whatever it was, it resulted in a Manhattan Project level effort to fix. Four huge City of Austin trucks blocked the apartment parking lot with only a narrow pass to get in or out between them, more trucks with yellow flashers cruised up and down streets in the distance. Something like a dozen guys in hard hats worked for 12 hours straight, all focused on one single smallish transformer at ground level in my complex that was already replaced just a few months ago.
The apartments turned into pitch black meat lockers, fast. No one would tell us what the hell was going on and it was obviously something unusually serious. There wasn’t anything else to do besides watch the workers: they had put up and then taken down caution tape, the ground here is wet, water running from an open transformer casing they’re working on over sidewalks and into gutters, from time to time there’s a shrieking screeching racket and mini fountains of sparks flying from cutting tools, there’s way more guys on site than you would think would be needed, all of them looking grim, there seemed to be no progress being made. And none of them would even make eye contact when anyone asked a perfectly reasonable question, such as “Is it safe for us to stay here tonight?” My guess is the transformer melted down, got stuck real bad, and had to be cut out at the metal mount or concrete foundation, but no one knows because these guys didn’t make the tiniest effort to tell anyone. They did get it replaced, working in the dreary, wet drizzle, I’ll give em that. But it was a long cold, unremarkable start to the new year.