The wife and I were on the road last night headed toward our ranch where we planned to bring some horses back to our new home in the mountains. As we pulled over for the evening, the mains power went off line. We saw the streetlights go out and the hotel in front of us blend into the night. The diesel truck hummed along and the GPS was working so I happily presumed it was a localized power outage.
We pulled into the Holiday Inn Express and several men were loitering and smoking near the lobby door. I pointed out the extra 1911 I keep loose in the cab for quick access and asked the wife to lock the door after I got out. I keep a five cell mag light clipped to the door post of all our trucks and I took it with me. As a flashlight junkie, I had nearby a vehicle charged Streamlight, along with a Surefire St. Minimus headlamp, and Kroma LED flashlight. Not wanting to exit pistol in hand, I left mine concealed while enjoying the bulk of the big heavy flashlight (how many times has law enforcement had to look for hairs and fibers on the knurled barrel of a Mag light?). I walked through the knot the men and forced open the sliding entrance door. I had the impression those outside didn’t know how to do this as the non-smokers followed me into the dark lobby. There were no emergency lights and the lady at the desk had only a pen light. Inside, there was another cluster of men milling around. They were all in their late 40s or older. I flashed my retired US Government ID to the lady at the desk and asked her in a whisper if she was all right. She seemed nervous but claimed to be fine and advised someone had been called to start the backup generator. This was a surprise as my generator starts automatically. Of course the hotel computer was down and she apologized for not being able process a room.
I shined my light around on the men trying to destroy their night vision and loitered along with them. After a few minutes, the lady at the desk told me there was a Hampton Inn nearby and suggested it. I must have made her more nervous that my peer group in the lobby. Again, I asked if she was all right. Something about all those men just hanging around in the dark set my nerves on edge.
Another small group of men were hanging around outside of the Hampton Inn. Someone had already forced the door open. In the lobby, the lone female at the desk had a small flashlight. A dozen or more older men were just standing around doing nothing. Fortunately the Hampton computers were on an UPS. Again I flashed my USG ID and asked if she was comfortable with all the men hanging around. By then, I had already shined my light into their eyes several times. More comfortable with the situation than I was, she claimed to be fine and repeated the same story from the other hotel: the maintenance man had been called to start the backup generator. I gave her my cellular number and told her to call if things got unruly. Nowhere in the lobbies of either hotel were battery powered emergency lamps. Of course, the only room available was on the third floor and she smiled as she mentioned it was near the elevators. I chuckled and asked for the special power off, lug the bags up the stairs, room rate and was surprised that she offered to call the manager for a discount.
I exited through the knot of men headed back to the truck. I parked and we got out, I with my headlamp, the wife with the Kroma. I lugged our baggage up the stairs and to my surprise, only the top floor of the stairway was lit by emergency light. The card access locks were individually battery powered so we had no problem getting into the room. Having had a good look around our very dark room, I trekked back down to bring up our BOBs and rifle. By then, people were saying a transformer had been hit by lightening.
As we settled into our dark and hot hotel room, the wife and I shared a few thoughts about how things might have been were this were a true Shumer EMP situation. Identical knots of milling older men in the two lobbies were curious. None had flashlights; all were clueless. As the men were uniformly older, I opined nagging wives probably forced them from their rooms in search of information and/or escape. The wife nicely suggested the place for me was in the room with her.
Settling in for the night, we were comfortable knowing we had protection (two 1911s, a SIG P220, and MBR), we had light and night vision if necessary, safe water and the ability to purify water in our BOBs, and a week supply of food. Excluding the night clerks, the sheeple were lacking even a flashlight.
I’m curious what the behavioral specialists might conclude from the knots of uniformly older men clustered in the hotel lobbies. My wife and I both proclaimed them ‘zombies’ and laughed. The men were just milling about in the dark doing nothing, not even talking with one another. If there were younger men in the mix I would have been really worried but nary a youngster was in sight. It was weird but perhaps their wives were keeping them occupied. Heavy cloud cover made it really really dark. As much as I wanted to join the cluster of sheeple in the lobby in order to learn from the situation, my place was with the wife.
We had a fleeting glimpse of life in the big city without electricity. Everyone was civil, at least for the first few minutes without power during which time everyone ‘knew’ the power would be back on momentarily. My impression was that it was very dark and a lot of people were milling around, surely a recipe for sudden violent trouble.