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The Great Blackout of 1998


Blackouts can be fun… for the first few minutes. I was working from home yesterday, so when the blackout hit, it wasn’t like I was stuck downtown and had to make my way home. Still, by the time Janet made it home, I was cold (since the furnace runs on an electric timer and it was only 45 degrees or so), I was hungry (because we hadn’t been to the store), and I was bored out of my mind.

At 10:00am, I got in touch with my manager and advised her of the situation. I had spotty phone service, the pager wasn’t working reliably, and my laptop was out of juice. So, she told me to do the best I could with the situation… and to be happy that the day was going slow.

By 11:00, Janet and I were starved, so I called down to the Toronado to see if they were open. Ian answered the phone and told us to come on down. So, we grabbed our coats and started walking towards the bar. The neighborhood was deserted… only a few brave souls were wandering around. One of the corner stores was open, but their cash registers weren’t working. As we walked by Rosamunde, we noticed that Jeff was there making up sausages. Since he had a gas grill, he decided to open up so he could sell his sausages before they went bad. His ventilation system wasn’t working, so he was only serving knockwurst and chicken-cherry sausages (which don’t splatter when cooking)… so we ordered up some of the chicken-cherry (which is a nice breakfast sausage) and headed into the Toronado.

The place was about half full. All of the locals, along with Dave (the owner) and Jimmy (the chef for the Belgian Beer Festival), all of the Golden Distributing folks (who had nothing better to do), and a couple of people who just saw a place that was open were there, letting our combined body heat and a couple of candles keep us warm.

We all sat there, laughing and drinking warm beer, wondering if we would have to / be able to get any work done this afternoon. When the lights finally came on at 2pm, everyone quietly said goodbye and headed off to home or work.

I didn’t drink much that afternoon, only having a Lagunator, Boont Amber and an Untouchable. Janet had a couple of Hoegaarden Whites and a framboise.

In beer news, the 1999 barleywine festival is scheduled for Feb 7-13. 30+ barleywines… and maybe a guest appearance of the Lagunitas Brown Shugga.

Posted in The Barfly Chronicles.

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