I was working on my homework late this morning when I heard fire engine after fire engine pull past my building and around the corner. I thought they turned up a side street, but apparently they were all converging on a hole that had erupted under the next building’s parking lot. A transformer-thing-a-ma-jigger had blown up underground, starting a not-terribly-small fire that caused an eruption of water, dirt and asphalt. Fortunately it was away from the building; unfortunately it was next to someone’s minivan. Many of my classmates live in that building, and within a split second they lost electricity and then water. The mass of lines that caught fire also supply cable TV for the entire complex, so it was quite the trifecta.
By the time I came by to see what was going on, a few hours later, the water was still bubbling away in the hole like a cauldron, and the electric company guy was digging at the molten parking lot asphalt as if it were soft mud. I offered half of my room to two classmates, but one was allergic to cats and the other is planning on getting a hotel room. The rest are borrowing bathrooms in other buildings to wash up and snuggling deep into their beds, as there is no heat tonight either. My friend who just ran (and completed!) her first marathon now gets to climb five floors to her cold, dark, no-water room in reward. There are too many displaced families to find new rooms for all of them, so the management has said that unless you’re old or disabled – you just get to bunker down in your own room until it can be fixed. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not.
I suppose it’s good training for whichever corner of the globe we’ll all be flung to in the coming weeks, just a bit sooner than expected. In the meanwhile, I’m guiltily making myself a cup of tea before washing my face and slipping off to bed.
Oh wait, before you go, a small group of us had a really great time visiting the Cherry Blossom Festival yesterday! It was crisp out, but very blue-sky sunny. Take a look: