This is a boring photo - I know. But I'm not about to post a picture of a dead squirrel (as far as I can tell I could get somewhere around 138,000 different ones on Google Image Search) and the squirrel is the star of this story. Here's how it went:
Since we're just back from Israel we're completely screwed up as far as time is concerned. I woke up at 3, watched the Tivos of the last House and the last two Heroes and then decided that since sleep was out of the question, I'd go to the store to get milk and some stuff for breakfast. Wandering toward my car, I saw, on the street next to the curb, a --- yes -- dead squirrel. Extremely unattractive -- and I wondered how he/she had ended up dead outside our nice, harmless little house. I was tired though -- this was too hard to consider -- so I got into the car and took off.
When I got home, I opened the front door to dusk -- all the lights were off. Wouldn't turn on. Ditto the coffee maker, the oven, the (GASP) computer and everything else. Checks with PEPCO, our local electric company, produced, after very long hold times, the information that, 45 minutes after their first customer call, they were still in the process of dispatching a crew to figure out what was wrong but "hoped to have things back on line by 10."
The hour drew near. Since I had to decide whether to wait it out or decamp to the local coffee house (free wireless) and write from there, I called again. Got even less information than the first time. BUT - and here's where it gets really interesting -- just as I sat down at my desk and looked out the window, a PEPCO truck pulled up right outside. Or squirrel-side.
Former reporter that I am, I tore out the door to see if the PEPCO guy knew what was up. Boy did he. Our entire neighborhood blackout had been caused by that one dead little rodent. Apparently when a squirrel leaps onto, and subsequently is electrocuted by, a transformer - the transformer responds with great sympathy and, basically, dies too.
He fixed it in about ten minutes -- grinning as he explained that "this happens all the time." He had just triangulated all the calls reporting the outage and figured out where the problem was. Cool, huh?
Now I'm here in my office talking to you, the lights are on and I even made soup. Not much meaning here but somehow there's an oddity about the entire event - reminding me as I returned to our own "natural habitat" from afar that going home to the same old house is no guarantee that things will be the same -- there or anyplace else.