So, due to some rather intense lightning storms, we were one of the millions of people to lose power on the east coast.
The outage happened for us while I was in the middle of a shower. I thought, “Ok, a couple of hours and it will be back on.” I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It turns out we were 2 out of millions that had lost power, and restoration was not in our near future. Unfortunately, the next day was a day that featured triple-digit temperatures. Unfortunately, as well, I had recently come down with a fierce cold (one that I have since recovered from, and passed on to my dear wife.) Fortunately, (or so I thought) I had to work, and planned on taking advantage of the walk-in cooler in order to cool off after baking for hours in my apartment. I was gravely mistaken.
Turns out, our restaurant was one of the only ones in the area that still had power. Being that most people still didn’t have power, everyone was eating out that night. I have never worked harder in my life than I did that night. The line was consistently out of the front door and before too long, we were running out of prepped food. Being I was the only person from the prep crew working, the responsibility fell on me to keep us from running out of supplies. First we needed diced onions for salsa, something I had never been taught how to prep according to the strict restaurant standards. I was given a crash-course lesson and told that my speed wasn’t important as long as I was consistent. Next to run out was the guacamole. Having made many batches of it, I was pretty confident whipping up a couple of batches on the fly. Then we ran out of ingredients to make the onions for fajitas. I had never been taught how to slice onions for fajitas and was given a half-assed lesson. Then I was told the exact opposite of what I had heard before. Instead of consistency over speed, I was told speed over consistency. It was chaos and it was beautiful. With everyone struggling to keep up with the customers, we formed a bond with each other. We were all part of some deranged family, having to deal with the same nightmare at the same time. We were all in the trenches together and everyone knew what they had to do to get the job done. It was sink or swim, and everyone was struggling to keep up. I’ve never worked so fast, I’ve never washed so many dishes, I’ve never sweated so hard. My shirt was drenched with the sweat that can only come from a sick belly trying to expunge illness and my sinuses tried their best to drain. Before I knew it, 8 hours had passed and I had not taken a break. I mentioned it to my manager and he was shocked.
“You go on break, NOW!”
I finished the night out and went home…. still no power. Vess and I had picked up a few board games and the last Coleman LED lantern available at Target. I was tired, and despite the 100% humidity and 90+ degree temps despite it being night, I was able to sleep.
The next morning, I had to work again… and again, we were slammed. This day was worse, sickness-wise. I was constantly breaking out in cold sweats and even felt faint a few times. Nevertheless, we got through another intense service and I headed back to yet another dark home. At this point I was getting annoyed at the apartments across the parking lot which had never lost power. The hum of their air-conditioners taunted me, but also provided background noise for me to sleep. A cold shower provided temporary relief. My cell phone battery was almost dead. I feared for the contents of my fridge. We had bought groceries the day before the outage. At this point, I wasn’t sure if any of it was going to be salvageable.
Day 2 of the blackout, we got power back. We were one of the lucky ones. As of this post, there are still people at work that are without power. The only casualty of our fridge were some beautiful pork chops that I questioned the safety of after 2 days of not being refrigerated. Yes, I was feverish and constantly sweating… but the occasional cold showers were enough to keep it at bay. Thankfully, the managers at my restaurant promised free food to those that were still without power.
Afterall, we are family at this point. We have to look out for each other.