About our leadership, culture, and media
Well, well, well. Sequels don't usually come out so soon, but whaddya know? #DarkNL has a part two already! And so does my blog from yesterday, cause guess what? I learned even MORE last night from #DarkNL when our power blew from 9:30, along with the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador, until 6:30 this morning.
I learned that I am either wildly prophetic, or borderline insane. After the child went to bed and the arse came out of 'er once again, I sat there and worrying that she wouldn't be warm enough without her snowsuit on. Then I convinced myself that if she's too cold she'll wake up and cry. Does that make me a bad mother? My rationale was that between her, me, and dad, we'd be able to determine what temperature was too cold to sleep in. So I did what any responsible mother would do - I cracked a bottle of red wine (thank God for the Christmas stash, hey b'y?!). Before anyone calls social services on me, dad only had one glass and sipped it slowly over two hours and I only had enough to get my wine glow on. I plunked my heavily insulated behind (no fat butt jokes, please, I'm talking about my tights/leggings/jogging pants fashion choice for the evening) down and streamed the haven that was VOCM Open Line last night. In the early aftermath of the blast, we sat there and imagined, 'What if this is how the zombie apocalypse starts?' Everyone's sitting in their houses, getting half blasted, half-freaking out wondering if we're gonna turn into Soviet Russia and be telling our kids about what it was like when we had electricity. I felt like my heavily insulated behind was sitting right in the middle of a big moment in history. I hoped I'd be telling my youngster about this event in a world with electricity, but I didn't think the idea of no electricity was entirely ridiculous.
I re-learned (I've always known this) how f***ing hilarious Newfoundlanders are. Our collective sense of humour is worth more than people realize. In the face of adversity, we are still able to keep it light – as many of the b'ys did as they called in and shared their thoughts that all of this is being caused by aliens. Another guy wasn't trying to be funny, but he was. He so was. “I'm gonna ask you a question, me buddy,” he said, as he barked at his missus to turn down the radio. “I'll do my best to answer, sir,” replied Tim Powers. “Wondering if you can tell me, me buddy, why, if we're trying to conserve power, why, me buddy, was there a hockey game on and why people were shopping for sales at da mall?” Of course, it's not the host's job to answer this question, but a very valid point was made.
I re-learned (again - I've always known this as well) how resilient and generous Newfoundlanders are. I thought about other catastrophes in our history – the great fire, the weather in general, the cod moratorium, the 90s, the friggin Heather Mills McCartneys and the Pamela Andersons and all the seal hunt foolishness every single year. Neighbours reach out to each other with hot food and drink and blankets. The giving nature of Newfoundlanders is warm enough to get us through the coldest winter.
I really, really, really love radio. People knock technology and the current communications revolution, but man – the combination of social media and radio sure is amazing. Sitting in the dark last night with the light of my Twitter feed and Facebook Newsfeed with a VOCM soundtrack made me feel so connected with the entire province. We are all a team. Every form of communications is part of a team, and even though we have new tools, nothing can ever replace radio. EVER. I haven't bothered to turn on the TV since all this started, even during our spurts of power. There is nothing like hearing the voices of our friends and comrades describing in great detail that the sky lit up green and blue for above five seconds near Holyrood when the power station blew. “It startled us and I thought, 'This can't be good'” said one caller last night. Hearing the concern and fear in his voice cannot be matched by any tweet or status update. On the lighter side, my friend Nancy Beaton posted on Facebook, “Tonight Facebook feels like a bar and we're all hanging out having a pint and a laugh. Too bad it'll all be over as soon as our respective batteries run out...!” So true. There are so many ways to connect today, but we need to remember our radio roots and preserve them.
That the most important quality for a leader to have in this province, especially, is connectedness with the people. On that note, our premier kind of sucks. Where was she in the beginning? Being a Newfoundlander and the leader of our province, she should know the value of connectedness and words and inclusion. She's like our mom, in some ways. She's supposed to help us feel safe and protected. Why did she not address her children sooner? Why did she not reach out right away, and say, 'You guys are doing great, we're a strong people, we'll get through this.' Why is she downplaying the whole thing and telling us we're not in a crisis? Ummm, I think the entire PROVINCE without power is a crisis. I think people running out of fuel and being completely ill-prepared for this kind of event and being stranded on the ferry and freezing in their houses in some of the coldest temperatures ever is kind of a crisis. She may be trying to downplay the whole thing, lessen the panic or whatever. But we're not that dumb. Thanks to VOCM and Twitter and Facebook, we know what's going on. We know how to make light of scary situations, but we also know how to analyze the actions of our leaders and government. Seriously – we're not dumb. Her words and timing could use some tweaking. There is so much to be said for a leader who connects with the people. She should have been splattered all over the radio and Twitter and Facebook way before now, because that's where the people are.
That our power system in this province is weak. Maybe it's time to get Muskrat Falls on the go, hey? Just an idea. Yes, taxes suck, but my bet is that taxpayers would be willing to move the project along so we don't have to go through this every year until 2017.
That despite the conditions over the past few days, there's nowhere else on earth I'd want to live than right here. I love us! We're awesome. We'll get through this.
To bring this thing full circle and reference yesterday's post, we need to BE PREPARED.
To the citizens of NL – BE PREPARED.
To Nalcor – BE PREPARED.
To the Government of NL – BE PREPARED.
Despite our positive attitude and ability to maintain our humour, we still need to be prepared for the worst. Not to be a Negative Nelly, but this could go on all winter. Stock up on your canned goods and get lots of flashlights and all that stuff I mentioned yesterday. Wine too. Get lots of wine. Or whiskey, if that's the juice that tickles your fancy. There's no heater like a drop of that stuff.
Good luck, everybody. Let's stay in touch.
(Shameless plug – follow me on Twitter - @Wicks_on_Flix)