We had some really impressive wind Saturday night. The news channel said that there were gusts in excess of 50 miles and hour. This was fine with us until the wind started messing with the power in our house. You see, we live by cable/internet and wouldn’t know quite what to do with ourselves if the power did indeed go completely out.
At the height of the wind gusts, the power started dimming quite sharply for just a half second or so, then it came back on. It was never enough to mess with my internet connection, so I just ignored it. After about five or six instances of this occurring, I noticed that there was a large popping sound that accompanied each dimming and a bright blueish/purple flash our of the periphery of my vision. A few seconds later, my son came running inside and told me that the power lines were exploding. He had been outside walking the dog when it started.
It turns out that the wind was either a) blowing two sets of power line together and causing a major power short, large bright sparks, and ember/ash flying everywhere or b) the wind was blowing something we couldn’t make out in the dark between two sets of power lines resulting in the same problem. I decided to call the power company and let them know what was going on, but couldn’t find the customer service number anywhere. I looked in the phone book and on their website. I did find a very cool, real time power outage map that you can see by clicking here.
When I finally got the number from one of the church members I got the typical automated answering system response:
Press 1 if you power is completely out.
I had power for the most part, so not me.
Press 2 if you want to pay your bill.
This was not a billing call, so this wasn’t it. A funny thing about me, by the way. When I listen to the automated answerer list the different options I always want to hear if there is a better option for me to choose. The problem is that I’ll forget what number I found by the time I listen all the way through. What I have found that I have to do is hold up the number of fingers for the correct option, listen through the rest, then refer back to my fingers. Anyway, back to our story…
Press 3 to report damaged power lines or a life threatening emergency.
After listening to all the other options, deciding this one is the best option, forgetting to put up three fingers to remember which number to push, calling back and making my way to option three again and then pressing the button, I heard the following message:
Your call will be handled by the next available representative. Your estimated wait time is 18 minutes.
At this point, the great on-hold elevator music kicked in. Gigantic, exploding sparks turned it into a family affair, so I had the speaker phone on the entire time. At the announcement of the wait time, my wife responded with, "I’d hate to see what the hold time would be for the non-life threatening emergency line."
As if this wasn’t enough, my oldest son responded with, "At least they want you to listen to nice music while you die."
He was right, it was nice music.