Fourth of July 'Parades' Rained On by Power Outages, Making the Holiday Sad

fireworksIt's already a major bummer that the 4th of July falls midweek this year. It's like the calendar gods were playing tricks on us or something. But it seems like the weather gods teamed up with them to create an even bigger downer of an Independence Day for scores of Americans. Millions of people from the Midwest to the East Coast are still without power after that crazy, raging storm hit Friday in the D.C. area.

Almost a million homes and business were sweating through the heat wave without power on July 4 in Ohio, West Virginia, and Illinois -- plus people in Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and other places were also down. Families and towns were canceling fireworks displays and parties left and right because of fire fears, trees blocking the way, the lack of electricity, and dampened spirits. Happy 4th of July -- yeah, right.

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Can you imagine sitting in the unbearable 90-plus-degree heat without AC or lights or a functioning toilet -- for the FIFTH DAY IN A ROW -- on what's usually a festive day off with family and friends?

It just doesn't seem fair -- and what the heck is taking the power companies so long, anyway?

The poor souls affected are understandably sick and tired of living through sweltering summer temperatures without electricity, especially on a holiday when all they really want to be worrying about is how many hot dogs to grill and what time the fireworks start. They blame utility providers like Pepco in the D.C. area for being way too slow to get things up and running again.

Honestly, I'm with them on that one. While I understand Pepco's point that it takes a while to fix seriously damaged power lines -- especially with whopper storms like this, where 80-mile-an-hour winds were roaring through a lot of places and a whole slew of trees and utility poles fell -- it's been almost a week! Sheesh! Seems like more progress should have been made by now, seriously.

Whenever there's any kind of outage that affects more than, like, two people, why does it usually take forever and a day to get it all working again?

I was living in New York City during that massive blackout in '03 when everyone in the area was in the dark for days. I'll never forget the panicky feeling when it hit. How will I get home from work when the subways are down? (I didn't - I stayed overnight at the office. And it happened to be at a time my foot was in a cast, no less.) What could we eat when fridges at home and in stores had stopped functioning and food began to spoil? (Can you say chips, chips, and more chips? I can still feel the stomach pains.) And how can we go to the bathroom? (I think that one is too gross to get into and can just be left to the imagination.)

I was one of the lucky ones that time, and was only without electricity for a few days. But I got a taste of what these people now are suffering through. I just hope everyone in charge steps up fast -- and soon -- so they don't have to suffer much longer.

What would you do if you had no power this July 4 -- and is anyone to blame here? 


Image via daspader/Flickr

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