My fiancee lives in grad student housing on a large university campus. Two days ago, the power went out at 6am. The university housing maintenance people managed to get the juice turned back on by 3:30pm. Well, actually, they connected a massive diesel generator to the section of the grid that powers the student apartments in the area!
The housing minions left a memo on the door of each apartment that explained what happened. This mess was caused by the failure of a power transformer. They determined that the transformer was destroyed and could not be repaired. The generator would be in place until a 'temporary' transformer could be found, which could take two weeks. And get this one: It will take fifteen weeks for the 'permanent' transformer to be installed.
I walked outside and took a look at the generator
. The massive orange box was situated atop a trailer and parked next to the electrical closet out in the parking lot. Heavy gauge black cables emerged from the thing. The exhaust billowed out into the warm Summer air.
I looked around at all the concrete, the hundreds of parked cars, the bushes cut into various geometric shapes... And the generator, burning diesel fuel to keep the lights on. Then I thought about the "Grass Under Renovation
" epiphany Becky and I had together a few weeks ago. I looked for a, "Pardon Our Generator" sign, but all I saw was yellow "CAUTION" tape.
Back inside the apartment, though, computers worked, lights were on, everything appeared normal. There was ice in the freezer. Even the Asian people next door had their usual LAN party fired-up.
Ahh, but notice how the courtyard lights are off... (I guess energy conservation makes sense, for the moment.) And what's that low, inescapable rumble you hear outside the window at bed time? Don't think of it as generator noise. It's the Myth of the Machine, rocking you to sleep.