Earlier this morning I was writing an email when I heard a loud explosion and the power went out. I went outside and searched in the direction of the boom, expecting to find a smoking transformer. The neighbors also came outside, to speculate about the cause. We are no strangers to losing power, but usually it happens during a snowstorm when a falling branch or tree cuts a line and our cul-de-sac is lightless for hours or days. I called NSTAR to report the outage and discovered a more user-friendly process than I’d used before. The automated system took my number, promised to call with updates, and followed through. I received a call to report that NSTAR dispatched a repair crew and power should be restored by 10:30 am, another call to report that the repair crew was on the scene–immediately after which the power came on, well before 10:30–and a final call to report the outage’s cause: an animal, most likely a squirrel, short-circuited the connection between transformer and wire, just 200 feet from where I write. This happens often in Maine–when we report local outages the first thing the Central Maine Power repair crew does is drive slowly down the camp road, looking for a blackened transformer and smoking squirrel carcass. It’s comforting to know the cause was so prosaic, so physical, not a failure from a million Google searches for <lady gaga>. Comforting for everyone but the squirrel.
Meanwhile I consider whether to drive to school for office hours. The snow is forecast to begin falling in earnest at 1 pm and continue through the evening. The drive in won’t be the problem.
I’ll decide at noon.