Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Sign of the Times

Sunday in Toronto an electrical Transformer blew plunging some of the city's core into a power outage.

Now what was interesting to me in the report about the power outage was that the American tourists who experienced the power outage or heard when the transformer was going up automatically assumed that the city was under some sort of terrorist attack.

No thoughts that something faulty occurred in the wiring or it was an accident. The first culprit for anything out of ordinary these days post 9/11 is terrorism. As it turned out some rodents got into some of the machinery and got fried causing the transformer to blow but at the time it happened that wasn't known so one of the first assumptions was terrorism.

Now growing up in the Caribbean I experienced many an outage. Water supply cut off, electrical outage, TV station gone on the fritz stuff like that. Burst pipes would leave you waterless for a whole day forcing you to go to the standpipe, go to another area and get water from someone there or wait for the water truck to reach your area so you could go fill buckets with water. And let me tell you nothing is heavier than a bucket of water. Whew! Now when we had a loss of water I never thought terrorist I just thought burst pipe. Not so now.

Power outages while not a norm in Barbados(wouldn't want you north American folks reading this thinking we are more backwards than you already do) certainly happened every now and then. So when your lights went out the first thing you did was check with a neighbour or look outside if it was dark to see if the street lights were off. If they weren't you had a blown fuse. If they were then something must have went wrong at the power company. We never thought, the country is under attack or an act of terrorism had occurred but that was a different place and a different time.

Last year when we had the huge power outage in Toronto all the way down to NYC I was at work when it happened. Computers went off so I thought they had crashed then realized that the lights had gone off too. Went into the corridor and the lights were off...Ok so everyone went home. Since there had been some construction outside our building earlier I assumed someone had hit some power cable by mistake. Started walking up the street noticed the power was off in other buildings too, hmm must be bigger than I thought. Walked some more no traffic lights working at the intersections...why that interesting this must be affecting alot of the city. Got home, no elevators, no lights. OK maybe its affecting more of the city than I thought. It was only later on that anything involving the words terrorist entered my thoughts. I just figured some machine broke causing a big power outage. It could happen and apparently it did happen but there were lots of folks thinking it was an act of terrorism.

In this post 9/11 climate I guess you cant be too careful but it does seem a bit worrying that terrorism has become our number one culprit for anything that happens to which we don't automatically have the answer.

1 comment:

Abeni said...

After 9/11 it gonna take a while for people nerves to settle I suppose.It seems like canadians caught the virus too eh but then in today's climate I guess you always expect the worse