[Filed at 4:27AM on Monday September 15, 2008]
Though it might be too soon to tell, I’m pretty sure that tonight will go down as one of my fondest memories of Cornell and my time at The Sun.
I just got home. It’s 4:25 in the morning and I’ve never been more thankful for having enough foresight to schedule my Monday classes to start at 12:20 in the afternoon.
I’ll rewind just a bit. As is my usual Sunday routine, I worked on Sun stuff nearly all day – managing this and that, driving things here and there, sending emails, making phone calls, you get the idea. I headed down to The Sun for our 5PM edit meeting, edited the photos for tomorrow’s paper and was out by 9:30PM. An early night! Yay! I went home to work on some more administrivia and to chat with some friends about the whole job search thing. Nothing too out of the ordinary. Until the wind started.
Just around the midnight hour, a wind storm picked up. Things began flying off of our roof and trees were bending to their limits. It was a little scary, but mostly we were thankful for a breeze and a brief respite from the humidity.
And then everything went dark.
With no lights, no internet, no real reason to stay awake, I decided to head to bed. My roommates coordinated a wake-up schedule since our phones were close to fully drained and we had no power for our alarm clocks. I was just about to hop into bed when I get a text message from the Managing Editor “Yo wanna take pictures of the power shortage.” It was 1:39AM.
“Haha pics of darkness? That should be interesting. I’ll see what I can do.” And with that I was off to explore the darkness. With nothing but my iPhone light to guide me – I changed out of my PJs, grabbed whatever camera equipment was nearby and headed outside – down the stairwell where even the emergency lights had gone dark.
Outside wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. A lot of stores on College Ave. still had lights and there were quite a few people out walking to take in the darkness. Police cars were stationed at the intersections. As I was shooting (again: pictures of darkness?) I overheard some guys bragging about the transformer that blew up in front of their house. I called the News Editors to give them the scoop. Luckily they were all on their way up to Collegetown to investigate and they were just pulling up to the intersection where I was shooting.
I hopped in the car and we began chasing the scoop. We were told we would have to walk to the transformer because car traffic was blocked on that street. Off we went. After running into one fire fighter who wasn’t really willing to give up much detail and advised us not to go closed to the transformer, we continued on (we HAD to get the story!) and conveniently we ran into Lt. Burbank who is in charge of the Collegetown Fire House and who I had the opportunity to photograph last year (I also go to ride in the fire truck. So cool!) He remembered me because we had chatted about photo equipment and he let me try out some of his lenses. Lt. Burbank was kind enough to explain the situation to us. He also made sure we didn’t walk under the wire that was sparking up in the tree. Thanks!
With some more information, we headed back to the car. On our way we ran into 3 of the other editors – 2 sports editors and another news editor (I interrupt this recount to mention that the power just came back on. It’s 4:41AM. Yay!). They had been off in the other direction gathering quotes and the like. We piled into Sarah’s (the Managing Editor) car and headed over to Uris to pick up Munier, the assistant design editor. We knew we had to change the top story for tomorrow’s paper, and we needed a designer! With every staff member necessary to put out a revised version of the paper we headed back down to The Sun. At this point it was about 2:45AM.
At the office, we were met by one of the Arts editors. Schroeder and the production assistant Kristen were there ready and waiting for us to crank out a story. I loaded up the photos while Sarah, Ben, Jasmine, Cory, Meredith, Peter (that’s Managing Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Sports Editor, Asst. Sport Editor, Arts Editor for those of you following along) collaborated to write the story. Munier, meanwhile was working on rearranging stories to make room for our new content.
4AM rolls along and Quark crashes on the design computer. Munier had just put the finishing touches on the design and was about to load in the story. Luckily he had saved his work. By 4:15 we were just about done. I hitched a ride home with Peter.
After driving up streets devoid of any light whatsoever, Peter dropped me off at my apartment. I, once again, pulled out my iPhone, powered up flashlight, and tried to align the key with the lock to get into the lobby. This is where things got creepy. It was SO DARK. The iPhone light didn’t really suffice. On top of that, of course the elevators were out, so I had to walk up the steps to my apartment. Walk up the COMPLETELY DARK STEPS. It was definitely a scene from a horror film where people are hiding behind corners waiting to take out an innocent bystander. Luckily, I made it back to my apartment safe and sounds and that brings me to right now.
It was definitely an interesting and really fun night, despite the fact that I’m going to be starting off my week already sleep deprived. It was one of those times where I’m just really glad to be a part of the paper because I got to experience a event from a completely different perspective. I could have ended this story paragraphs ago when I decided to go to sleep be cause the internet was down, but look at what I would have missed out on! It was a concerted effort between a group of college students who could have easily just called a hotline or written up some quick brief about the power going out, but instead we followed the story – went right to the scene, got people’s reactions, really tried to understand what was going on and how it would impact students and then went back and redid the paper until 4:30 in the morning. That’s dedication. That’s taking pride in what you do. That’s why I love working for The Sun. And that’s why I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight.
Until next time…