My Saturday morning newspaper gave me a pause. An interesting article spoke of the oncoming “solar storm” that would be hitting us on Sunday. As I delved further into the article I read that electromagnetic radiation, followed by proton radiation were flying out of the sun at 93 million miles per hour and would hit the earth first. Then the third wave would be the awful coronal mass ejection of plasma hitting the earth at 4 million miles per hour. This plasma could cause electrical grid outages and satellite disruption. Now this sounded ominous. The article ended by saying that power companies and satellite providers were keeping a wary eye on the activities. Okay…Got it.
I turned to my wife and began boring her with what I had just read and I stated, “Wow, wouldn’t it be awful if that damn radiation shut down my Direct TV service during my beloved 49rs playoff game tomorrow?”
I don’t think she heard me, and if she did, I’m sure she just clicked off her “husband ranting again” button to ‘mute’.
So, it’s 5:30pm on Sunday, and the third quarter is well under way. The 49rs and the Giants are beating each other up defensively and my 49rs and my blood pressure are approaching the red zone. BOOM! We lost all power…nothing…blackness. NO! It had happened. I told my wife that damn solar storm had bombarded us with radiation from the biggest solar storm in 6 years and we were in a blackout. She said, “Where did you hear that?”
After 15 minutes, I walked out on the back patio into pitch blackness to make sure that my neighbors were experiencing this blackout too. The entire neighborhood was dark. I heard my neighbor behind me shuffling around his patio and I yelled over to him. “Hey, do you think the solar flare got us?” He replied, “What are you talking about?”
“I’ll be right over,” I said. I grabbed my flashlight and made my way through the back gate into his yard, and then proceeded to tell him all about the protons and the plasma and how I felt sorry for the six astronauts up on the space station. We talked until 6pm, when voila, the lights came on everywhere. I rushed back to “my chair”. The game was still tied and of course the ending was sad for me but power was restored.
The Monday morning paper had a big article about the power outage that affected 25,000 customers. It seems a suicidal chap climbed a 200-foot tall transmission tower threatening to jump. PG&E de-energized the power lines for safety reasons. A worker in a cherry-picker was able to go up and bring him down.
Sometimes, it pays to keep your mouth shut, even though you think you got it all figured out.