As we were driving home at 5:30 last night (rush hour), the lights went off throughout Monmouth County. Tens of thousands of homes were without power. More importantly, no street lights were working. So traffic was a mess!

I’m from NJ. We drive aggressively here, elbowing our way through traffic as if we were the only ones that mattered. What struck me last night was how everyone showed looked out for each other. Even though they had the right of way, drivers stopped and let people cut in line, make left turns against traffic – just generally took turns. At busy intersections, the merge rules took hold with each corner going in turn. It was amazing! No matter how anxious we all were to get home, consideration took over.

Helen and I were meeting at the local supermarket so we were able to follow one another home. We arrived to a pitch dark house. Our plan was to come in through the garage so if any over-excited felines escaped, we’d contain them in the garage. Perfect plan except the garage opens on an electric circuit, so we turned on the flashlight applications on our iPhones and used them to light our way into the house. A head count let us know that all were present and accounted for, and very much ready for dinner, thank you very much!

We quickly found big flashlights and Helen alleviated the hunger issue while I found candles. We only have scented candles in the house and there were so many different smells joining together, I don’t know if we’ll ever get the place cleared out. One candle at a time is nice. Seven at once is an assault on the senses. (Note: Dear Santa, Please bring lanterns from Lowes for Christmas.)

We have a gas stove so cooking dinner wasn’t much of a problem, except one of the reasons we were going to the supermarket was to get food as our provisions were dangerously low. However, the Italian blood in me will not allow life without a box of pasta somewhere in the cabinets. Just as we were clearing off the table to start a game of cards, the power came back on which was very nice because, while our stove may be gas, our heat is electric. If the power company had to pick a night to blow a transformer, this was the night. It stayed in the 50’s all night so we never got cold. But tonight is another matter. So I hope everyone else got their power back and will be nice and toasty tonight.

The power was off for about two hours over all. Not bad and, as I said, the weather behaved. The worst part was trying to get home. But once we were there, it was kind of nice. Mostly quiet, although we’re on a very quiet cul-de-sac so outside the noise level didn’t change very much. But inside, we didn’t have a TV going in the background. There were no computers going. And our pace slowed down because we didn’t have to worry about trying to pack stuff from the store to get out the next day or whether we should be making cookies. We just relaxed. The cats appreciated it so much, they may cut the power lines tonight just to have a repeat:)

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