Having the power come and go randomly in Puerto Rico has become standard. Yesterday at the gym when the power went out nobody batted an eye. Little did we know it was an islandwide apagón. Blackout.
At first it felt annoying but when a friend of mine posted a meme I wondered how bad the public sentiment was going to get. How long was it going to last? How dire were people going to act? We have enough food supplies in the house, and are 45% full on our generator tank. I decided not to turn on the generator until night time.
Reports said that the power would come back between 24 and 36 hours. That’s enough time to worry people. I decided to get gas for my gas tank on the way to school. I wouldn’t have enough gas in my car to go up and down the mountain 2x to school the next day. but as I passed the gas station I counted 50 cars – I’m not exaggerating – lined up to get gas. Some of them might’ve been just trying to proceed down the road. It was only two lanes. People were sitting on their hoods because the line was not moving. At least they were polite.
I had planned to take my kids north to Happyland in Añasco but with the gas situation we had to cancel. My Plan B was to go to Krispy Kreme for donuts but again after calculating my gas I didn’t want to waste that much. I suppose that’s why so many people were in line at the gas station. It really really sucks to have to ration the gas you have available in your car knowing that it is a precious commodity.
My very nice neighbor offered to take my kids to school the next morning. We went over to her house after school and tried to assess if we could fit three car seats in the back of her car. The conclusion was no.
My friend texted me on WhatsApp (did you know that functions much better than texting during a power outage?) that her husband found gas at 8:45 PM without any lines. So at about 9:20 PM I went out too. I want to first gas station I saw that had no line (which thankfully was the closest to us) and they only had premium gas left because regular was all sold out. Sold.
Power came back on in Mayaguez in the middle of the night. It went out for a bit again in the morning but I’m crossing my fingers that business is back to usual.
Blackouts create chaos. Most people hunker down, but I avoided the major Hwy 2 road at all costs. Imagine a major thoroughfare in your city. A six lane street with stop lights every 1000 feet. All those lights were dark and the road because a free for all circus.
This is too soon after Maria. As my friend said, it’s still too raw. People were quick to panic giving a clear message to the government and power company, “We don’t trust you.”
This next hurricane season might be tough.