Tuesday started off well enough, I suppose, until I was reaching into the refrigerator at my mother’s house behind the Star office and the lights went out.
I walked down to the office, concerned about a blackout. It was just after 9 a.m. on the most hectic Tuesday of the year so far, and we were out of business.
Russell Bennett in the front office phoned the Long Island Power Authority, which said it would look into it and that the electricity would be back on in 45 minutes. This was not so bad, but I remained concerned. Would it really be less than an hour?
Some time ago, The Star bought two mobile generators for times such as this, but in the absence of hurricanes or other calamities, they had been rarely used. I recalled that one did not work at all, but thought the other would start. The supposedly good one needed a battery jump, so I went off to look for cables.
After fiddling around with this for a while, I gave up and walked back down the lane. A power company worker was already high in a cherry picker attaching orange cables to the overhead lines. Remarkably fast, too fast, I thought. Minutes later, a tree-trimming crew showed up, and I realized what was going on.
One of the workers explained what I suspected by then: The power had been cut deliberately to allow them to work around the power lines in safety. The job was to last until roughly 1 p.m. We were supposed to have been notified in advance by mail. Right.
Without a working generator and with no prospect that the power would be restored soon, I headed next door to the library, where the electricity had not been affected, and asked if I could attach a few extension cords temporarily so we could get the arts section done and to the printer. It was noon by the time it was all assembled. Of course, you probably guessed that within what seemed like minutes of cobbling this arrangement together, a LIPA crew returned and restored the power.
The rest of the day went relatively smoothly, and we had nearly caught up with our regular schedule by the end of it. Our nerves, frangled and jangled by the morning’s drama, however, remained on edge till quitting time. Whether or not the LIPA guys will be back tomorrow to finish the job no one would say. We’ll just have to wait to see.