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August 15, 2003

The Night the Lights Went Out in [Insert Your Town Here]

My experience with "Blackout of 2003" was merely inconvenient at worst. Had I still been employed, it would have been pretty bad getting home, if I could manage getting out of the city at all. Major heebie-jeebies at the thought of being stuck in an elevator, the sweltering subway, or on the railroad.

Spent the early part of the morning packing up things, getting stuff into the car for Goodwill. Was absolutely delighted that they took all of our offerings - clothes, books, and Scott's 15-year-old stereo. The freestanding box speakers were enormous; except for the Record button no longer functioning, everything was still in perfect working order, including the turntable. Scott waxed wistful, but it was more than time to let the behemoth go.

Met up later with some of the gals in Scott's department for a girly excursion to the Hamptons for some serious shoe shopping. Part of the venture was just getting out from the chaos of the apartment and driving through picturesque towns on a beautiful summer afternoon, Kylie blasting from the radio. Girlie talk ensued: Colin Firth and his wife have a new son, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is pretty damn cool, the benefits of waxing, and having boots in different lengths makes complete sense.

An hour and a half later, we got to the American Legion in Amagansett, where the sale was held. My blackout moment was thus: the lights flickered on and off, then completely off. The room was still fairly well lit because the doors leading outside were open. Hardly anyone noticed - we women were far too busy hunting down shoes. Hearing the news, the scale of the blackout sounded overblown to me at first.

Earlier, one of the store employees announced that a woman had bought 34 pairs that day - holy kitten heel! At one point I carried four pairs around the room while I tried to make up my mind; after comparing notes I eventually set down some Kate Spades and Bruno Maglis back on the table. So now I have completely impractical but adorable round-toe open-backed Italian high heels and some sleek suede-like Pumas for around 75 bucks. My companions acquired three pairs each, so we all did well.

Driving back home was mostly a traffic issue, given the one-lane roads, but these well-heeled towns already had their local police manning the intersections. Scott was home when I got back, our neighbors were all sitting outside in patio chairs. We took a walk to a nearby ice cream stand that was still open. Well-packed cups of pistachio and vanilla served as a suitable dinner.

Had not yet packed candles and I was still trying to figure out where to pack the batteries, so after digging for matches we had decent illumination. Phone service was still available. Power came back on around 11 p.m. We even had cable. So such was our hardship, which was really not much at all.

Yours, &c., LC | 12:59 PM | New York minutes