This past weekend, I took a spontaneous trip to Baltimore to visit Sonu and Joy, who had just finished the first session of summer Orgo at Hopkins. To clarify, I love spontaneity but spontaneity doesn’t always love me. In retrospect, booking a train ticket for 6 a.m. was probably a little overly optimistic, seeing as I missed my train not once but twice (…oopz).
Regardless, I pulled into Penn Station around noon on Friday, after spending an hour sitting in the Richmond train station and another three hours being anti-social in Amtrak’s Quiet Car (I prefer to travel sans screaming toddlers and middle-aged women gabbing away on their cell phones. You know how some truly great love stories start with a guy and a girl meeting on an airplane or train? This might explain why I’m still single).
A few hours later, a quasi-monsoon hit, and all of Baltimore was drenched in darkness. So much for a celebratory weekend, right? I think this was Baltimore’s way of saying, “Congratulations, you survived Organic Chemistry! Now die in a pool of your own sweat.” With no electricity, hot water, or AC in 105-degree weather, it’s truly a testament to the company I was in that I didn’t dissolve into a puddle of bratty desolation. And while I am fully aware that all of this warrants a very big #firstworldproblems, I found that on a scale from one to watching any of the Twilight movies, braving the heat in the midst of a massive power outage wasn’t as miserable as I thought it would be.
(Sidenote: This is coming from someone who has a notoriously low threshold for pain or discomfort – which is both good and bad. Like, for example, extreme cases of torture for classified information, piercings, tattoos, childbirth, shots at the doctor’s office, and/or fighting to the death in a wilderness arena against 22 other teenagers. Think about the first person that dies in every single horror movie you’ve ever seen – that’s me. On the bright side, you guys will never have to worry about me dying in a tragic cliff-diving accident.)
They say hindsight is 20-20, and I’m guessing this mantra was supposed to be applied to things like dysfunctional relationships, eating a giant tube of cookie dough at two in the morning, and other similarly poor life decisions, but I’m going to go ahead and use it to shed light (…too soon?) on surviving a weekend without power in B’more.
Survival Tip #1: Candles. Technically I think candles are considered contraband // possibly a weapon of mass destruction by the Housing Office. At best they are “strongly discouraged.” Anyways, my advice would be to blatantly ignore that rule and stock up in the event of another power outage or emergency.
Survival Tip #2: Use this opportunity to explore other well-lit, air-conditioned parts of Baltimore. Like Maxie’s (Kidding! Sort of). Unfortunately, half of Charles Village was closed – no Subway, Unimini, Starbucks, Chipotle, or Ajumma’s. So Jane, Joy, Sonu, Will and I went downtown Saturday night and enjoyed dinner at RA Sushi, which was thankfully open and had power (see: AC). We hit up Fell’s Point for a bit and met some interesting locals who made us laugh // forget about the lack of power back at Hopkins. You’ll probably have to eat out for at least a couple of days, so I took advantage of the situation and went to Carma’s and Donna’s (Turkey burger and sweet potato fries til I die), which I missed immensely while I was away.
Survival Tip #3: Oil-blotting sheets. While I know that an extra sheen of sweat pretty much kills any aesthetic motivation, invest in some of these. Unless you want to look like the BP oil spill happened on your face, blotting sheets will tide you over until you can take a decent shower. Which brings me to my next point…
Survival Tip #4: Get used to cold showers. It builds character.
Survival Tip #5: Eat everything in sight. So this might be more of a personal life philosophy (ALL I DO IS EAT EAT EAT NO MATTER WHAT…loljk) than a survival tip, but chances are that most of the food in your fridge is going to spoil within 48 hours – especially if Maryland state authorities are saying it could take up to a week to completely restore power. Before eating out, try to salvage what you can! By Sunday morning, Joy and Allison (our lovely hostesses!) looked so dejected and miserable that Jane and I ran to Eddie’s and Barnes and Noble to get them healthy, non-perishable food and cold drinks as a parting gift (to be honest I think Jane and I were responsible for at least a quarter of their drink revenue in two days…no big).
Survival Tip #6: Be grateful. If you live in the tri-state area and had power this past weekend, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I hate you. However unbearable the heat, we still had clean running water and a roof over our heads, which is more than the 1.4 billion people living under the poverty line around the world. From a less dramatic perspective, the only thing worse than being constantly sweaty is being constantly sweaty and surrounded by people you hate. Luckily for me, I spent the entire weekend with a really great group of people who still managed to be as ridiculous and fun as ever.
Happy 4th of July!!