Winds of Washington

I live in Washington State, just outside the city of Seattle. It rains here a lot, yeah, but it’s not like we have to ever worry about things like tornadoes or hurricanes. Well… that’s what I used to think, anyway.

Washingtonians were hit with some pretty hefty winds (69 mph, a record for Seattle) last week which knocked out electrical power for over a million residences and killed at least four people. My family went without power for almost two full days and we were the lucky ones. I have friends and coworkers who have been without electricity since Thursday night and are still waiting for the lights to come back on. They’re exhausted. You can see it in their faces. They display the abusive remnants of Very Little Sleep, Room-Temp Chef Boyardee, and Perpetually Visible Breath. I think something called Dire Boredom also beat them about the neck and face a few times over the past several days. Used a heavy rubber hose by the looks of it.

I imagine those Louisiana-to-Florida residents reading this have already commenced with the eye-rolling (pffft, 69 mph is a gentle breeze!) and determined that we in the Pacific Northwest are a fat lot of pansy-ass whiners. Fair enough. But for people not accustomed to December winds folding eighty-foot fir trees like pipe cleaners, it was a rather taxing experience.

But it was also educational. Indeed, many facts were laid bare by the raucous gusts of December 14 and 15.

Fact: Shivering is a remarkably effective form of isometrics.

Fact: Cats can sleep in nearly any conditions.

Fact: Watching TV is more important to some than eating or staying warm.

Fact: You are not as prepared for a disaster as you think you are.

Fact: Some people have no idea that charcoal barbecuing indoors will kill you.

Fact: Huddling together over a laptop computer watching Shaun of the Dead kills 99 minutes and, potentially, your crappy notebook battery as well.

Fact: Cold cream-of-chicken soup doesn’t taste any better if you pretend it’s vichyssoise.

Fact: Distant friends you haven’t spoken to in months still care about your well-being.

Fact: Stocking caps are not silly.

Fact: I'm a freaking wimp compared to a homeless person.

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About kirkstarr

I draw pictures for a living.
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10 Responses to Winds of Washington

  1. Marque says:

    Some people have no idea that charcoal barbecuing indoors will kill you. OK, seriously? It will? No, seriously, I don't know and it concerns me for various reasons. Fact: Stocking caps are not silly.Yes, they are. Really…they are.

  2. Sahar says:

    Phew, I also was affected by that windstorm, but luckily our power went out only during the middle of the night, so I didn't have to endure any conscious hours without power. I was one of the luckier ones I suppose.

  3. Kirk says:

    Yup, marque, carbon monoxide poisoning. Pesky charcoal briquettes! Always lettin' off noxious gases!And, regarding stocking caps, no they're not. Consider this: the extra length of cap can be used as a wondeful buffer between your face and the cold, cold, COLD pillow.

  4. Marque says:

    Before the comments get out of hand, with people saying what an idiot I am for my comment, I just wanted to state for the record – I know about the coals being carbon monoxide and I have worn many MANY stocking caps. It is impossible to pull off sarcasm on a computer. I was a Search and Rescue crew member in the Coast Guard and we had fire training, among other things. Just so it is known….I just feign ignorance as a cover for my unlimited genius (OK, I made that last one up)

  5. Kirk says:

    Yeah, I've been accused of coming off condescending in my comments, can you imagine? :PAmazing how much we get from body language, vocal inflection, etc.As far as stocking caps go, I was just playing devil's advocate. I've never worn one, but I was definitely wishing for one last Friday night, oh boy.

  6. RedScylla says:

    As someone who survived many, many power outages in the Hurricane State, I would not want to do it in the Northwest. Oh, sure, being without power or running water for 5 or 6 days, it sucks. But it was always in the summer. While lots of people cried and moaned about being without air conditioning during the Year of Four Fucking Direct Hits, they were morons. 90 degree heat will not keel you, if you stay in the shade. Trying to keep warm with the tailgater's barbequeing equivalent of an E-Z Bake Oven might.

  7. Budd says:

    About stocking caps: When I was in the Army and stationed in Korea, this guy accused me of wanting to be black one day because I put on a stocking cap to brave the weather. I had to set him straight on the necessity of a stocking cap in a frozen tundra (ok, guilty of hyperbole). When did stocking caps become a black man only thing. I have been wearing them every winter of my life and was not aware that there was a caste system set up for them.
    I feel your pain, Kirk. I was in the TN ice storm of '94. No electricity for two weeks. Luckily my Grandmothers house was only out for about four days.
    It might be time to invest in a gas powered generator, to be run outside or in a very well ventilated area.
    If you are parked in your car with the heater on, you should crack a window.

  8. Kirk says:

    "It might be time to invest in a gas powered generator…"Karin and I made that solid decision the second day. We got to use my dad's generator for a few hours before our power came back and it was just too awesome of a thing to be without. As soon as I save up $600 (give or take), I'm getting a 4000-watter. Oh yes I am.

  9. Fattypants says:

    I'm in Kirkland and our power came back early Monday morning. You were lucky, indeed.

  10. Kirk says:

    "I'm in Kirkland and our power came back early Monday morning. You were lucky, indeed."Karin's aunt in West Seattle is still without power! That's Seattle City Light, and not Puget Sound Energy, so the manpower is nowhere near as large, but I'm still surprised she's had to go this long. I feel so bad for her.

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