Anyone who’s lived in NYC for five minutes can tell you that the electric company, ConEd, sucks. Now that I’m nearly halfway to becoming a “real New Yorker” (they say it takes 10 years, and if how New York you are is based on how much you despise all other New Yorkers, I believe them), I have a few horror stories of my own. But Monday night’s takes the cake.
On Monday morning, I posted about tiny and therefore easily air-conditioned apartments being a good reason to never leave Manhattan, and Bachelor Girl said, “At least you live in a place where you will not DIE without air conditioning.” I should’ve known it was foreshadowing.
So, my friend Tessa was staying with me, as I mentioned, and after work that day, we met up with her-friend-who-I’ve-also-hung-out-with-once, Mark, and my friend Ash at Caravan of Dreams, a raw organic vegan restaurant that goes against everything I believe in but is delicious. Afterward, we went for a couple of hours of karaoke, which turned out to be amazing, because I somehow only make friends with people who have incredible voices.
Tessa and I got back to my apartment at around 11 p.m. and sort of started getting ready for bed but then ended up chatting for 45 minutes or so about how much better we are than everyone else, how people try to ruin our lives because we’re so great, the usual. And then all of the lights went out. Had I been awake alone and, say, in the bathroom, I would’ve freaked the hell out. As it was, we sat in shock for three seconds, and then I realized I was holding my BlackBerry and scrolled the trackwheel on it so the screen would give us a little light. The air conditioner was oddly still on, so I went over and switched it off to see if that would fix anything, and then we went to my bedroom window to see if the whole block was down, but the houses across the street were still lit. Tessa has some experience with fuse boxes, so she went to work on ours, flipping everything every which way, but nothing changed. I tried to turn the air conditioner back on, but of course it wouldn’t work anymore.
We slipped on our shoes and trudged out to the street, and while the houses across the street really were lit (with one smug asshole surfing on his computer right in front of his bay window), neighbors on my side of the street were all filing out of their houses in confusion. A ConEd emergency truck parked right in front of us and set about making some horrendous noise as it worked on the cables below the street, no doubt waking up anyone who had been sleeping peacefully and hadn’t noticed the power go out (my roommate).
We stood outside for perhaps 15 minutes, figuring 95 degrees and a slight breeze was better than 95 degrees and a non-functioning air conditioner, and then a girl from my building came out and announced that ConEd had called and left her a message about how it was a planned outage meant to last anywhere from two to six hours. WHO PLANS AN OUTAGE ON THE HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR THUS FAR? And who thought midnight, when there’s nowhere to be except your apartment, was a better idea than, say, noon, when most people are at work, anyway, and everyone else can just walk down the street to an air-conditioned coffee shop? Oh, ConEd.
The thing is–despite the fact that:
1) we had to sleep through the sweltering heat that night with no relief,
2) the two to six hours ConEd promised turned into twelve, and
3) Kamran’s Manhattan apartment has free and unlimited air conditioning,
I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. All of us hanging out on our stoops, my landlord’s non-English-speaking Italian mother coming out of our building in her housecoat, an old lady who still had electricity yelling from her window for everyone to shut up and let her sleep . . .
It was so Brooklyn.