Thanks to Hermine, the students here at Florida State University know exactly how to deal with power outages. We experienced a solid seven days of cold showers, no air conditioning, no hot food, and no cell phone service after the category one hurricane hit Tallahassee. When the power unexpectedly went out this Tuesday night, it seemed like a déjà vu moment.
The worst part about the whole thing was being off campus when it went out, since I am a first-year student living in an on-campus dorm, and having to make my way back to campus. Driving down Tennessee street in Tallahassee is already a nightmare, but adding non-working traffic lights and the night-time rush to the mix made the trip ten times worse. The drive from Heritage Grove back to campus had me on edge. Unlit, four-way streets are feeding grounds for car accidents and that was exactly what I was driving through. To my surprise though, people were actually driving pretty well, and that is saying a lot for drivers in Tallahassee. At least the cars were being cautious since impatient pedestrians took “I have the right-of-way” into their own hands and crossed six lanes of traffic without warning. Don’t worry bud, we all saw you crossing since you were wearing dark colors at night!
Once I got back to campus, in one piece thankfully, a new problem arose – who has power? The answer was no one. Word spread like wild-fire when people heard that Strozier still had power. Around 8:45 p.m., Strozier had already hit capacity. Almost every chair was taken, and finding an unoccupied outlet was like striking a gold mine. Just as everyone was getting situated into their seats, or in some cases the floor, the alarm went off and the deep, some-what soothing voice of the man over the intercom filled the quiet 4th floor Annex. Was it really an emergency? No. Was everyone still running to the exits? You better believe they were. Since we had just randomly lost power, we were expecting the worst. After standing outside for twenty minutes, there ended up being no real emergency, but once we were allowed back into the library, all Hell broke loose. I can honestly say that I have never seen that many people so excited to be able to go back into the library. People were pushing, shoving, and running towards the small, one-person, handicap gate so they could be one of the first ones to claim a seat (And yes, you read that right. There were people running into the library, because in this case, desperate times call for desperate measures).
I do have to say that being without power for a few hours was pretty inconvenient, since I had a test the next morning that I had to cram for, but it could’ve been worse. I could have been working as a barista at the Starbucks in Strozier, because you already know they had a line twice as long as it usually is. Sorry Starbucks baristas, but if the hundreds of other students and I are going to be at Stroz for the next five hours, we are going to need our coffee.