Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Message in a bottle
If in New Haven, Conn., you live on the corner of two streets, one of which is technically a state route and the other a city street, as I do, and something happens, such as a tropical storm, and the power goes out through the entire neighborhood, and police road blocks go up over both city streets and the state route alike, encircling you like a snug and impenetrable noose, naturally you seek information, and, seeking it, you encounter the following problem: The City of New Haven transportation department refers you to the state of Connecticut department of transportation, and the state of Connecticut department of transportation refers you back to the City of New Haven transportation department. That’s if you can find the right telephone number in either case. It is understandable that under present conditions, in which everyone is working as hard as possible and doing all that they can to bring things back to normal in the aftermath of tropical storm Irene, there will be tiresome delays. However my neighbors and I can neither drive into nor out of our properties, in which there is no power, and all we are asking is for a rough estimate of how long this state of affairs is likely to continue, and, incidentally, since the barriers all around us read “CAUTION ENERGIZED AREA,” a wonderfully ambiguous phrase, what risks there are in our immediate vicinity of which we should obviously be made aware. I see no wires down, nor any risky trees. As usual, the United Illuminating Company (UI) are not easily reachable, and their online storm information impossible to decypher. The person I just spoke to did not even know what “CAUTION ENERGIZED AREA” means. No idea. So I am putting this message in a virtual bottle in the hope that someone else may come to our rescue. Until then the experience of returning home after dark at the end of the working day will continue to have a Cathy-and-Heathcliff dimension, with more prosaic stubbed toes thrown in. Thank you.