Thursday, December 18, 2008

And Then It Was Dark...

Yikes! Is it Thursday already?  Time flies when you are busy at work and then have no inclination to sit at the computer again while at home.  And that is my explanation for my absence.  

So let's talk about Monday.  Yep, all the way three days ago.  The day I had to go back to the office because I was not a millionaire.  I didn't even have secret santa fun/drama in which to partake. A sad day indeed.   It was approximately 3 pm and I found myself staring at the computer screen, having looked at one too many documents, and wondering, when the heck I would get to leave.  Then the answer came.

The lights went out.  

Technically everything went out with a WAH WAH WAHHHHH sound.  It was kind of freaky. No lights, computer, phones, nothing.  A few more tries and the electrical system totally gave out.  People milled out of their offices and cubes and said brilliant things like "we lost electricity" and "what happened to the lights."  I knew we were done because the security lights were on casting a creepy looking haze over the office.  As one coworker pointed out, it looked like we could be in the Cloverfield movie when you walked down the hall.

Excited at the prospect that we might be down for good, people walked around asking others what they thought was happening.  Finding a window I noted the traffic lights were out too. Score!  At that moment someone talked about finding a radio WITH BATTERIES to find out what was happening.  It was then that I pointed out that we had cell phones that worked and could, in fact, make contact with the "outside world." 

So I called my mom.  However in order to call my mom, I had to navigate a totally dark office as I do not have a window office. That is right folks - no window office. First time in my career and sometimes I am bitter.  I make up for it with cozy mood lighting, but it is not the same.  After painfully running smack into my chair, I grab my cell phone, walk out of my office and yell to the two partners within my eye sight:

"I can't see ANYTHING in my office because it is SO DARK in there because I have no WINDOWS! If I had a WINDOW office, I probably wouldn't have ran smack into my office chair while retrieving my phone from the DARK office, would I?"

I am subtle.

A partner handed me a flashlight.  No kidding, I laughed and gave it back to him and ran off to talk to my mom while wandering the halls. My mom knew nothing. Nothing on TV or the internet about our predicament.  So I told her I would call her back.  As I rounded the corner I heard someone say:

"I am going to call the electric company, nobody's thought of that"

And she was right.  I found this to be very hilarious what with the radios with batteries talk like we were at war.  However, I made sure to point out to her that I had DONE SOMETHING.  I had called my mom.

Well, the electric company told us that the power would not be back on until 7 pm.  Twenty minutes later we were cleared to go home. That was not quick enough for one partner who was running around with his coat on yelling "why are you people still here? Are you going to sit around for three hours? Can't you see it is DARK in here? There are no lights."  He had already checked out I guess.

The end result? We all scored some extra hours away from the office.  We all learned some valuable lessons as well:

~A scary place to be when the lights go out is our bathrooms, according to a partner who informed me that's where he was and that there are no windows and apparently no safety/backup lights.  Is that possible? Safe? Legal? Sounds like a problem waiting to happen.  Good thing that other partner had that flash ligh as about 8 women decided to go to the bathroom as a team.  Apparently no electricity makes you have to pee.

~Every entrance door has a keypad operated by what? Electricity. We were not sure we would be able to get back in through any of them.  Of the five in the main entrance, two you could access with your code still, two you could not and one was just totally open to anyone. Fort Knox I tell ya.

~There is absolutely nothing to do in an office without electricity.  Except going around unplugging everything in case of a power surge only to have a partner yell out "isn't that what power strips are for?"  The man has a point.

~The correct order to obtain information about a power outage is (1) the electric company, (2) your mom or anyone in the outside world and (3) a battery operated radio.  Of course, the person in charge of the radio only seemed to report traffic news and news from a German station.  That was very helpful.  

~Clients do not care if you have no power. They will show up anyway and will not want to reschedule.   It is fun to just sit across the table from them and remark about the weather or the lack of power. I wouldn't actually know as I did not have clients that day, but that is how I imagined it would be.

~It is hard to actually get word to someone that his clients have arrived without email or a paging system. It involves a lot of walking around.  And if he is walking around at the same time, you could be doing it for hours.

Finally, it is fun to come into the office the next day and have this conversation:

Partner: There are pictures of strangers in my picture frame.
Me: What???
Partner: In my digital picture frame, there are pictures of people I don't know.
Me: Are you sure?
Me: Who are they?
Partner: I dont know. I DON'T KNOW THEM.
Me: Let's take a look.

As I suspected, his USB stick was not plugged into his frame. There were pictures, however, flashing across the frame.

Me: I think those are the pictures that came with the frame...
Partner: Are you sure?
Me: Pretty confident.
Partner: How do you know?
Me: Um, it says "Insignia" on the bottom left corner of every picture and it is an Insignia frame.
Partner:  You are so smart.
Me: Thank you, can I have a raise?

No, I did not ask for a raise. I did, however, threaten to one day replace his pictures with pictures all of me.

And I think I just might do that.

8 important things being said:

Jennifer said...

You know what you could do in an office with no electricity? You could drink? That's what we considered doing when there was that big blackout a few years back.

*~Dani~* said...

Jenny - that is funny because someone did remark "doesn't so and so have some vodka." Hmmm....maybe I should have stuck around.

Bryan said...

You crack me up. It sounds a lot like my office when there is a fire drill or something. They send a million emails out about what is going to happen and even what time they are going to do this and people still act like they don't know what is going on.

They even have cabinets through out our buildings with emergency supplies in it, like a crank radio and Army meals (M.R.Es) just incase a disaster happens and we get stuck in the building I guess.

*~Dani~* said...

Bryan - wow! I got a comment out of you. That's something. I am sure we will eventually have a detailed memo on what to do and not to do should it happen again. As for you, it is not like you are in the middle of the desert or the middle of nowhere. I think the M.R.Es are a bit much. Wait! Do you have any to spare for our office? We can eat them while listening to our radio for "news" on the happenings.

Jennifer said...

Bryan my Dad would LOVE one of those crank radios.

*~Dani~* said...

I like how we have turned this into all about getting supplies from Bryan.

Bryan said...

I will see wait I can do about getting those supplies for you.

*~Dani~* said...

Bryan - thank you. The fate of my company and the safet of the employees lie in your hands. If the next power outage is any longer, who knows what chaos will ensue.

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