It is a cool winter day in South Florida. Since everything is relative the windows are open and we're in shorts in the house.
The morning semi quiet was disturbed by the normal sounds of a Friday. The radio was on playing some quiet classical music from an internet radio station. The drip feed irrigation was watering the pots. The water for my coffee was just at boil and I was taking it off the burner.
Getting ready to pour the water over the grounds, the lights suddenly cut off.
The house was in an instant quiet. There was a "PING!" noise like you hear in a Hollywood post apocalyptic movie. At the same time, there was a distant BOOM! as if something just got hit.
I hear from the other side of the house "Uh Oh, That wasn't good!".
Setting the teapot back on the cooling burner I came out into the main house and surveyed the damage. The TV Computer was restarting. It hadn't been enough of a power pop to restart the stereo, but the internet radio had just rebooted itself with a cheery "Logitech" logo streaming across its face in florescent cyan. Ceiling fan was spinning back up to speed and the washer was burbling in the laundry room for the Friday Laundry-Fest.
Sensing all was normal, I padded back into the kitchen. Pouring the hot water over the coffee, and stirring it to make the morning half-caff, I notice there are now sirens screaming in the distance.
Apparently someone had hit a pole on the raceway that is Wilton Drive. With our creaky power infrastructure here, any time that happens, the side of the city grid that that pole is on goes dark for a second or two then back on. Not enough to stop you from making breakfast or that coffee pot that I am enjoying now, but just enough to restart sensitive electronic equipment like computers and internet radios.
This side effect of having a raceway in the middle of the city is a minor one. We have a four lane highway running through the heart of the business district. It is placed to move people from Downtown Fort Lauderdale to Oakland Park. It is a bypass of Sunrise Boulevard. People use it and see it as a good alternative to sitting at the lights next to Holiday Park.
This being South Florida, the speed limit is merely a suggestion at 30 MPH. People seem to change their tires at speeds higher than that. They also strike down pedestrians and cause a fatality at speeds higher than that.
A good argument for narrowing the drive is to watch the people fly past all the businesses on their way to somewhere else in rush hour. An even better argument for doing that is to watch them fly past at 9pm on a Thursday Night.
The power pops we have here are usually only an annoyance. I have lost a significant amount of electronics since moving here. Not enough of a reason to expect a city to rebuild its central core. But it is yet another reason. The accidents, not my electronics.
Hopefully that person who was in a rush to get from one side of our little island to the other didn't kill anyone or cause too much damage when they caused that accident. At this time of day, someone's work day will be messed up. Luckily few people are out walking their dogs at 7AM. At 7PM it is a very different story.
This sort of thing happens at least once a week. It is fairly predictable. It is completely preventable. Leave 10 minutes earlier, reduce your speed to legal limits, and chill out South Florida. My neighborhood will thank you.