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20100116 - drunk driver downed powerline - GEDC1351 - eerie hanging crucifix - brutal


Power and phones go out while simultaneously hearing explosions. 10-second long bursts of loud sounds so low pitched and rumbly that you feel it echoing throughout your chest, with bright lights coming in every window in your house. I almost started to think it was a nuke, until I remembered this from last time. "That's what it's like when some drunk driving asshole smashes a telephone pole in two. Looked out the window and saw the bright blue craziness of main power lines exploding and going crazy."


Street signs scorched, holes melted in them. Pole suspended by wires, now all low-hanging. Cars stuck in the road, beeping at each other, in a total traffic jam as the people in back realize they are going to have to u-turn and go the wrong way down the road. A passenger abandons his car and steps over a downed power line, as bystanders yell, "No! Watch out! Power line!" (It was us, actually.) We stop 4 or 5 people, including our next door neighbors, from walking into a hard-to-see low-hanging line that I knew would be where it was based on the LAST time some drunk asshole killed a telephone pole. [It was the next pole further down the street last time.]


Main road blocked off for 10 hours. Dominion Virginia Power arrived within an hour. Happened at 11:30PM. Power came back on by 5AM. Meanwhile, we were trapped, with no power, no internet, no dial tone, and no way to drive our car out without going over downed lines. Whiskey and candle-warmth, followed by lots of cuddling under every blanket we had, on the foofsac, in the better insulated addition room.


Verizon took over a week to fix the phone part of the pole, and that was only after getting Fairfax County involved AS WELL as contacting a Verizon CEO who had an office in DC. They originally wanted to wait TWELVE DAYS just for visit #1. Never mind that it actually took those assholes SIX visits to get our internet and DSL working. Thankfully, we just got an Android phone, so, unlike with an iPhone, tethering was very simple. Running torrents for TV shows over cellular airwaves reminded me of how we got our TV shows in the 1970s before cable - over those same airwaves. Funny how things go full circle. The cell phone actually got 2.6Mbps too -- almost as fast as our DSL. But we hit the 10gig limit pretty quickly, and were reduced to dialup speed.


I was happy that my motherboard had 2 ethernet ports. One was set to the cell phone tether IP settings, while the other was set to our house DSL settings. This meant that I didn't have to change all my IP settings every time Verizon, Covad, or Silcon wanted me to test something out. Major time saver. And the first time I've truly had a use for 2 ethernet ports.


I wanted to sue the guy for causing me to have to go through hours and hours of phone calls. Just a little suit - $200 or so. But Fairfax County Police were utterly unhelpful in providing a name -- despite the fact that arrest reports are public record! Way to go, guys. Basically, every single service we used failed us in one way or another. The police, Verizon, Covad, T-Mobile -- all failed me in one way or another.


Turns out, the drunk driver didn't get very far. The cops found him a little ways down the road with "significant damage to the right side of his vehicle". They later told us that "he was going to jail."


drunk driving, hanging.

car accident, cross, crucifix, power lines, telephone pole, wires.

broken. smashed.


Thomas Jefferson High School, Alexandria, Virginia.


January 16, 2010.


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Taken on January 16, 2010