POWER TO THE PEOPLE IRMAnecdotes
There are plenty of Irma stories of evacuations, hardships and good hearted efforts by nice people helping one another survive the hurricane and then endure its messy and disruptive aftermath. Our adventure was a kind of comedy if it didn’t hurt so much to laugh.
The cat 5 spins toward us so my wife and I decide to leave the Chalfonte, our luxury oceanfront condo in Boca Raton and hunker down in our office, which is safely west of US 1 and directly across Palmetto Park Road from city hall and the police station so surely we would be on the premiere power grid. Wrong!
We were among the first to lose it. So much for that theory!
So after Irma blows by, leaving millions of us Floridians powerless in her willfull wake, we decide to return to our condo where at least we could hang out on our balcony, look at the ocean now calm and behaving itself and enjoy its brisk refreshing breeze while waiting for power to be restored.
Only we didn’t count on finding the downed telephone pole laying across the front of the building and blocking the driveway with aĺl its entangled wires sprawling half way across Ocean Blvd. Surely this will warrant quick action by FPL. Wrong!
The pole just lounged there for days while the condo generator was starting to sputter, dousing our few hallway lights, but more ominously threatening to end our elevator service.
Not good. We’re on the eighth floor! And Angela’s hip is already hurting from all the walking and stairs climbing from Irma’s outages.
“I wouldn’t stay here,” said our condo president. “The generator could go out and you’d be
So we high tail it to the nearest hotel, The Waterstone, check in and go to our room 1020 where we just start to unpack once again when a voice booms over the loud speaker telling us there is a “fire in the building” and we must leave the building immediately and not take the elevator.
Angela and I look at each other horror stricken. Being a former newspaper reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer and now a PR man, I could instantly see the headline:
Couple flees powerless condo, check into hotel where they die in fire! Condo president distraught as he had suggested it.
“We’d better walk down, honey,” I say to my bushed wife hardly believing the words I’m saying
So slowly and painfully we start the trek down 10 flights of stairs. Young parents and their children and dogs, one a German Shepherd big as a horse push their way around us as we were descending too slowly in an emergency, but we were going fast as Angela’s hurting hip would allow us to go.
“If we’d have stayed at our condo, we’d only have to go down eight flights,” Angela complained.
“Yes, I know, dear,” I said, wanting to strangle the condo president.
We finally reach the bottom floor and to the life-saving door that opened onto the front of the building where we see the valet parking attendant.
“Where’s the fire?” I ask him.
“What fire?” he replies bewildered.
We go inside the lobby now filling with anxious, irritable guests, one of whom is irate.
“Why wasn’t a false alarm given?” the irate woman with a pack of cigarettes in her hand yelled at the beleaguered hotel manager.
Eventually we tired of all the histrionics and we returned to our room, this time taking the elevator.
That night there were a half dozen more alarms reporting there was fire in the building, but we just slept through the disasters. A hotel worker blamed FPL surges for the multiple false alarms. So the blame game begins.
The power was restored at our condo Sunday. Thank you FPL!
Now COMCAST we’re waiting for you.
When you live in Florida, you sort of get used to disasters and just ride them out hoping you won’t be on an elevator that gets stuck between floors.
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