So, I happen to live directly across an inlet from a massive naval base – it’s where my Father worked all of my life, and where my brother-in-law works now. I grew up here, and with the exception of 10 years spent living and working in downtown Seattle, I’ve been in this town all my life. Another 25 miles north, actually a mile from where I work, is another navy base where submarines are stationed.
What I’m getting at is, you get used to strange things happening. In the middle of the night, especially in the summer when you’re sleeping with the windows open, you’ll hear odd noises. Sound travels amazingly well over open water, and even better at night when everything is still and quiet. You’ll wake up, maybe you need to go to the bathroom, or you’re a light sleeper like I am, and realize you’re hearing what seems to be the pinging of a car’s door left open. It’ll go on for hours, and you know it’s not a car because it’s louder and stranger than that.
Or you’ll hear occasional explosions that can only be described as massive catapults launching. You get used to it. Radio station interference. Odd sounds.
But that’s the Navy.
What about the local power company?
See, where I live, my particular section of town never goes dark. During wind storms, heavy rains, whathaveyou, my sister’s house can lose power. My mother’s house is notorious for going dark in a wind storm, but mine almost never does. So when I DO lose power at the house, it’s really strange, and always followed up with a newspaper article explaning that some teenager’s car hit a pole, or a power surge took out a transformer.
Which made Tuesday a little different. I got home, my sister got home, and we decided to head out to the store – we leave the garage, and find the power suddenly out everywhere. After a ridiculously long trip through some heavy intersections lacking working lights, we get home and sure enough, the power’s out. It’s not too big a deal, we can still cook using our gas stove, and it came back on an hour later.
The next day, the newspaper tells us that “a transformer substation was switched off for no reason. It took them two hours to transfer over to another substation, and they’ll try to get this one “fixed” soon.”
Whaa? First, how does someone shut off a substation by accident? Second, why not just turn it back on?
Okay, whatever. Only now, I’ve just read online that my town is without power AGAIN – this time the explanation is “a squirrel, or perhaps a bird, must have touched two lines and caused a fire” and then, after that line, I read “power was out two days ago when a tree fell on a substation.”
WTF? Now we’ve gone from someone shutting off a substation for no reason at all, to “oh, I guess it was a tree” ???
Que the X-Files theme music, someone, ’cause I ain’t buying it!