I’d been in Binghamton for two weeks, having survived the craziness that was preparation for Hurricane Irene in New York City. I thought the worst was over, and all that I had left to do was get through my five classes.
…Then came Tropical Storm Lee.
On the morning of September 8th, 2011, I woke up to what sounded like a faucet that had been left running, and then to the shrieking of my housemate who had discovered something worse… non-stop rain had flooded our area and we were left without power.
My initial reaction: sheer shock. What was supposed to be a relaxing day off from a University that doesn’t believe in days off, even in blizzard- like weather, had basically turned into pure mayhem.
After the panic and frustration wore off, we realized we were completely unprepared to cope without electricity. Thus began a trip to the local Wal-Mart.
Apparently, everyone had already gotten the memo because it looked like the place had been raided. Luckily, we were able to get a few essentials that helped us get by until the electricity came back on.
Here’s what you’ll need to survive should you one day find yourself in an off-campus apartment, three hours from your real home and without electricity for four days:
Although you do have to be careful not to set fire to your place, candles can help light the way. Our place turned into a mix between an aromatic garden and a lover’s den with all the Glade candles we had to burn.
Obviously the above won’t work without these guys. Make sure to have no shortage of them or you’ll really find yourself in the dark.
This is also helpful when you’re walking down dark hallways, entering and exiting your place of residence. Unfortunately, we had to learn the hard way that candle flames can’t withstand doors being open and shut.
PLASTIC CUPS & PLASTIC GARBAGE PAILS / CANS
Before confusion takes over, beware these two very simple items can help with the bathing process, especially when all you’re left with is freezing cold water. Boil some water and pour into the garbage cans. Mix in some cold water and voila!, you’ve got some bathe-able water to keep from stinking. Hopefully common sense told you the plastic cups are for water- scooping purposes. (Baby wipes also work well for a quick freshening up, too.)
IPOD AND CHARGER
Thankfully my housemate was more technologically prepared than I was. Music can do wonders for an irritated, bored, frantic and internet-less soul.
SNACKS AND NON-PERISHABLE FOOD
I wish someone had warned me not to spend $60 on groceries the night before Tropical Storm Lee hit, but after getting rid of the meats, milk and eggs, everything else became fair game. Trust me, nothing is worse than being bored in the dark and hungry. Just don’t go overboard or you won’t recognize yourself when the lights come on.
SENSE OF HUMOR
Thank goodness for the Dollar General Store workers who allowed us to recharge our batteries and read magazines to pass the time.
LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST – PATIENCE!
If I didn’t have any before this trying event, better believe I’ve got plenty now. There’s nothing like sitting in the dark for days to make you reflect on your entire life.
While I can’t say this experience was the greatest, it definitely made me appreciate the things we so often take for granted. One in particular: being able to pee with the lights on. Seriously.