Thursday, August 21, 2014

That kind of afternoon

At 2:20 this afternoon, the lights in the office flickered, went out, flickered once again, then died. Along with the lights, the air conditioning and other ventilation stopped.

Sigh. At least once a summer, for the seventeen years I've been there, the a/c in our office dies, usually on the hottest day of the summer. That would be true today, except the cloud cover kept it in the seventies, rather than the mid-eighties that was forecast.

Our boss decided to shut the office at three if the power didn't return, mostly because of the lack of air conditioning. The outage apparently hit three buildings, and whatever happened, it wasn't a simple fix.

It never dawned on me that the outage may have hit more than just the building power.

The first clue it was more widespread was that our Public Safety group had removed the gates on both the in and out lanes of the parking lot. No power, no way to lift the gates.

From that exit, I make a right, a left and another left to get on to the freeway to home. All three corners have traffic lights. The first stop is at the intersection of the street behind our building and an off ramp for that freeway. The second is at the corner of one of the main east-west arteries through downtown. The third sits where that artery crosses a combination off ramp/on ramp feeder coming from the north, and the on ramp and additional feeder street to a different on ramp.

All three sets of signals were out.

There were accidents at two of the three corners. No police on site yet, though a University Public Safety cruiser pulled up near one of the sites.

On both streets on the way to the ramp, there were drivers who sped past at thirty miles per hour or more, heedless of the non-working lights (or, more likely, seeing them and deciding to take advantage of them). I'm willing to bet that kind of behavior was the cause of the accidents.

Sheesh people, pay attention. Even if you don't care if you have an accident, you should care about the other people you may hit.

Ten minutes later...

The off ramp on my trip home is long, and two lanes wide, plus a breakdown lane. It serves as the connector between two pieces of highway as well as the off ramp. I saw an SUV pulled over in the breakdown lane, flashers on. A casual glance over as I passed made me laugh.

Ten feet in front of the parked SUV, a hawk was sitting in the middle of the lane.

A least, I think it was a hawk - too big to be a peregrine falcon even though they nest in the area; though lighter in color, not the distinctive bald eagles, who nest much west of here. It certainly wasn't a big seagull, as I couldn't see any driver parking on a busy ramp to protect one. The bird must have been injured, to sit there while sixty mile an hour traffic whizzed by.

It was just a glimpse, but I couldn't help but laugh at the contrast between the driver who would use his car to protect a bird, and the drivers back on campus who couldn't even slow down to protect themselves.

Priorities, people.

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