Something magical transformed Winthrop Ave. and Seaside Way in Carlsbad, CA last night. The usual, come home from work, park the cars, and unlock our sanctuary doors, changed. What seemed like a major annoyance, turned our little section of The Villas into a block party, of sorts. Complete with strobing yellow lights, courtesy of the multiple utility trucks servicing the pump station, a gathering of neighbors, and a slight traffic jam as garage doors failed to open with the click of remotes.
Families with young children stood outside on walkways and curbs – chatting about the downed electrical grid – and the possible causes.. Dogs, large and small took in the warm night air, watching the on-goings from balconies, or padding along with their owners. With the anniversary of 911 approaching, little wonder that the subject of a terrorist act came up
As we walked by one car, which was stopped in front of a closed garage door, a neighbor jumped out and cheerfully said, “It must be the end of the world!” I replied, “It has to end sometime.” His reply was something like – ‘why not tonight’ – but don’t quote me.
As darkness fell, even with a moon nearly full, the street emptied with the exception of a few service vehicles. While the rest of my household decided to go to bed, no television and no internet, I grabbed a book light and a novel. Flashlights, a lantern, candles and batteries on hand, along with a radio, there was nothing else to do.
Soon a tapping noise drew me to my kitchen window. As I peered out, one of our downstairs neighbors, with baby in her arms, smiled back at me. Did I have any extra batteries for her radio and lantern. Our Costco supply to the rescue – we both agreed to stock up for next time. Not only batteries, but water, food and medical supplies.
Last night we ate our diner by candlelight, something we haven’t done in years.
That can’t be a bad thing.
With this mini-crisis behind us, let’s be more mindful of helping each other, checking on anyone we know who might be alone – and afraid when lights and phones are out, and cell service is sketchy. Next time you may need a neighbor’s help.