It’s now 102 degrees in Central Park, and since every other word right about now seems to involve “heat,” or “hot,” or “OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IT’S HELL OUT THERE” (paired with copious amounts of forehead sweat that you attempt to wipe from your face but only succeed in sending in waves down your neck), we figure we might as well take this opportunity to be servicey. First comes heat, then comes the end to all that is good in this world, a/k/a, air conditioning, when we finally blow the big NYC fuse. Remember this?
Well, should it happen again, you’ll want to be prepared. Which means, read this, then print it (old-school, like a blackout!) and attach it to your refrigerator, which won’t actually work during a blackout but will instead serve as a handy bulletin board. ‘Cause you may not be able to access this whole Internet thing. (Minimize opening fridge during electricity loss duration, especially if it contains meats.)
In case of blackout:
1. Look around for Queen Elizabeth II. If you see her, stick with her, no matter what she says. Charm her. She’s your ticket outta this hellhole.
2. Make sure you have old-school implements like candles, matches, batteries, and a flashlight. Batteries go in the flashlight; candles get lit with matches. If you mess up, you will know it sooner rather than later, but don’t come knocking on our door unless you have lots of #3.
3. Have a good, really good, stash of booze. In fact, it’s worth it to grab a case of something on your way home from work today. It’s not gonna go bad, you know? What’s a blackout for, if not to get blackout-drunk? Also can be used for barters and illicit deals in case of necessity/you forget about #4.
4. Go to a cash machine, and hold onto the cash for once instead of spending it all in one place like your mom says you do. Stop thinking about your mom, it’s a blackout. Call your therapist instead. Thank God you still have that landline.
5. Minimize your movements and find a cool, sheltered place outside of direct sunlight where you can daydream in peace about Edward Cullen.
6. Blackouts are the great equalizer. Short? Ugly? Candlelight makes everyone look good, and pitch-black darkness is even better. We suggest using this moment to perfect your blackout pick up lines (“Is that you, Margaret?” “I’ve always found you undeniably attractive…”) Practice makes perfect. And rejection is so much better when you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Bonus: Objects seem bigger when you can’t see them. Trust us.
7. Ladies, the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Have no-cook munchables handy, like fruit roll-ups and no-bake cookies. Good for keeping everyone’s strength up, too!
8. Dig up that AM/FM radio and learn how to use it again. There will be a blackout song, and it might as well be yours.
9. Make a list of the worst places to be during a blackout (On the operating table? On the subway? Getting a tattoo?), and don’t go anywhere near them until the mercury takes a dip, say, Thursday.
10. If you have a car, get in it and drive somewhere that has electricity as quickly as possible. Don’t look back. You won’t be able to see anything anyway.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 6, 2010