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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

Off The Grid

The first snowstorm of the year hit Portland over the weekend. On paper, this was already going to present an issue.

If a foot of snow is the test, Portland is the kid who didn't study. Based on the road clearance rates in the past 48 hours, I think the city owns two snowplows.

But that's not even the most pressing issue right now.

We are currently experiencing the largest power outage in the history of the State of Oregon.

I am sitting here in a cold, pitch black apartment with spotty cell service and a very occasional Wi-Fi signal. If today has taught a lesson, it's opened my eyes (literally, it's hard to see in here) to just how integrated our lives are with electricity.

Because my battery is running short, I'll keep this to a few short takeaways.

  1. A mundane activity like putting in contacts can become a high stakes task when you can't see anything (that was me at 6 AM this morning).

  2. Other than fruit, nuts, and select vegetables, uncooked food does not taste good.

  3. When you build a house, pay for good insulation.

Finally, a quick story relating to weather and electricity:

Back in 1948, John Wooden was a highly sought after basketball coach at Indiana Teacher's College. Both Minnesota and UCLA were interested. Enjoying the Midwest, Wooden wanted to coach at Minnesota, so he set up a call with the Gophers at 6 PM, and scheduled the Bruins for 7. That way, if Minnesota gave made an offer, he could take that first.

6 PM came and went. No phone call.


So when UCLA called at 7, offering Wooden the job, he accepted. He would go on to win 10 National Championships, earning the nickname, the "Wizard of Westwood."

The trouble was, Minnesota wanted Wooden. But the night of their scheduled phone call, a blizzard hit Minneapolis. The athletics director couldn't access a working phone. By the time he got a hold of Coach Wooden, he'd already told UCLA he was coming.

As an alum of Minnesota, it's easy to wonder what could have been. But I also think it's hard to imagine that Wooden would've equated, or surpassed the success he had at UCLA coaching the Gophers instead.

In the end, maybe the blizzard guided him in the right direction.

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