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power outage in Toronto

 5.45. No power. No electricity. The power went out at about 12.30, so over five hours so far. Worried about the fridge, trying not to open it. My phone for once was not charged – now at 17%, so I don’t want to text or check email. A panicked search for matches through junk drawers and tool chest before finally finding a book of matches from one of my son’s restaurants at the back of a desk. Candles ready, one flashlight working.

Apparently ten thousand downtown Hydro customers are without power, including U of T and MTU, the Eaton Centre, the city’s financial centre. People were or still are stuck in elevators. I went for a walk in the ‘hood and talked to a man in a wheelchair at the corner of Carlton and Parliament, watching the amazingly orderly chaos of cars navigating a busy intersection without streetlights. 

“I live in a high-rise so can’t go home till the power comes back,” he said. “I’m waiting here to see a crash.”

The power remained on north of Carlton. Another planet. I know this happens often to my friend Chris on his island in the Pacific, but rarely here, in the metropolis. 

Blessings: it’s a lovely evening, not too hot. I’ve had for many years and barely used a fabulous device called the Eton Emergency Radio, which works by hand-powered crank. So I’m able to keep cranking up to listen to the news and hear there’s a downtown power outage caused at the waterfront by a crane dislocating some hydro wires, and they don’t know when power will be back. 

I had nothing scheduled, so don’t have to get anywhere – Anna said, come over if you want, but the last thing I want is to try to get across town. I can sit on the deck and read. There’s lots of freshly-made gazpacho in the fridge and bread and cheese. The main problem is getting stuff out of the fridge and closing the door as quickly as possible.

No landline. No TV. Luckily, CBC radio through my hand crank. I realize once again, as with the Rogers outage, how much we take for granted. What if this goes on? 

You’re safe, you’re home. And just prior, you’d emailed two essays to a magazine and picked a fresh cucumber and a pile of tomatoes. And now I’ll go back out, with warming rosé, to read. And wait.

6.15. Listening to CBC’s The World at Six as I crank the handle. The world’s miseries: punishing heat in Europe, Trump, doctor shortages. Could be so much worse here. My house grows darker, the fridge warmer. But there’s water, and a roof, and a relatively sane society. Safety. I know, my daughter would say, safety for YOU, Ms. White Privilege.

7.45. Went to my neighbours Mary and Malcolm north of Carlton, who had power, to charge my phone. They gave me a glass of wine and said, Stay as long as you want. An hour later I heard that power was mostly back on and left to see if it meant my house – and it did. There’s light. The fridge is humming, I’ll check tomorrow to see if anything has gone bad. Life goes on. 

We are so dependent.

I kept this “diary” on Word on my Mac, and now I can share it with you. Because the internet works, and the light I’m writing by. 

We are so dependent. 



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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