Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Traffic obstruction

Tsukou bougai

Disclaimer: This is a ranty blog entry by someone so far affected by the quake/ tsunami by only scheduled blackouts and a temporary gasoline shortage. If you are looking for actual helpful information, go here.

More working in the cold darkness today. Group 5 had not one but 2 blackouts scheduled today, which meant work did the "backup power" thing Yesterday I found myself getting depressed, so today I made it a point to walk around and talk to people outside my section, jerry-rigging early intervention. I think I left work in better spirits than yesterday.

A new development was that there was an actual blackout in the area around my work. If nothing else, it kept people from asking us why we were the only gig in town running on auxiliary power (we aren't, city hall and the prefecture office do the same thing). My friend said that all the traffic lights were down. There were police officers directing traffic at large intersections, and there, you could pretty much drive/ pedal/ jog as if nothing had ever happened, but at the smaller intersections, things sometimes got a bit scary. I understand there have been car crashes during these blackouts. Drive carefully if you are involved...or do what lots of us at work have been trying to do, which is schedule work so that you don't have to drive during blackout hours, and avoid doing stuff away if it can be done where you are now.

Of course I write this knowing this suggestion is more helpful to some than others...

The Pumpkin Daddy had the morning off (based on the blackout schedule) and went to the store. He found milk and (finally!) bread. The panic buying some people are doing is really annoying. My co-worker reported seeing someone who had something like 6 packs of toilet paper in his cart. I guess he was anticipating a bout with diarrhea...

The food issue has kind of leveled down, mostly because we are a food producing area. The big thing right now is gasoline. My boss has been trying to fill his gas tank at least part-way so that he can drive home to see his wife, but so far, no luck. He has a small, spartan apartment in the area for occasions like this, and he's had to stay there pretty much the entire time since the quake. A popular topic of conversation at work has become the locations of gas stations that still have gas, and how to avoid the gas-station induced traffic jams. My boss armed himself with the information acquired during one of these conversations and headed for the gas station in question. There was a long line in front of the station that stretched a couple blocks, so he knew they were still pumping, and he got in line. So he waited, and waited, and waited some more until about an hour had passed (he came in late, but because of the whole auxiliary power thing, there really wasn't that much to do this morning so we didn't miss him that much), and then...

"A policeman came and told us to go away because we were obstructing traffic."

My boss is probably sleeping in his apartment in town again tonight.

The area surrounding my workplace had a blackout, but the area around my home didn't. I think they'll pick us for tomorrow...which means it will start at 6:20 a.m. Yikes! I should probably turn in early so I can wash with warm water and make coffee before the power gets cut.

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