Young, Dumb and Blacked Out
Stories of blackouts and swimming where you shouldn't.
The lights dimmed brown, then died. On summer break between sophomore and junior year, I was with my high school girlfriend Joyce at our friend Wendy’s house in Bensonhurst. We flipped the light switch off then back on, but nothing happened. Wendy’s father flipped the circuit breakers, but that didn’t help either. We walked outside to see if the neighbors had power, but they were thinking the same thing. Everyone was emerging from their homes, onto their stoops and into the streets to ask, “Did your power go out too?”
We didn’t realize then that, earlier that afternoon, on August 14, 2003, a power line in Ohio came into contact with a tree, triggering a series of events that, compounded by negligence and human error, left an estimated 55 million people in a rough triangle from Ontario to Ohio to Massachusetts without electricity. We were in one of the largest blackouts in history.
It was a beautiful summer afternoon, so, at that moment, the blackout seemed incons…