The half-day power outage — the Blackoutalypse? The Great Blackout of 2011? 3:40 in Yuma? — reminded me of the Great North American Blackout of 2003.

Yesterday in San Diego people were in good humor, just as they were for those three days in New York City:

Fifty million people were affected, and listening to the radio it sounded like each of the 50 million were surprised that they themselves had acted with such compassion toward strangers, with so much disdain for fear, and with so little worry.

At least, that’s how it felt to me, though it’s hard to say whether the folks who chose beer and wine did so for soothing or recreational purposes or both.

We already have a fantastic (professional) photo gallery from Sam Hodgson, but here are a few things I noticed and a few pictures I took with my phone:

Parking lot attendants directed traffic on Pacific Highway and a passerby gave them soda to keep cool. Police directed traffic, too, and it was, generally cooperative, at least by San Diego standards.

• Four men pushed a stalled car out of the way on Washington Street at Albatross, to the cheers of women watching. Eastbound traffic, backed up down the hill toward Highway 5, moved faster after that.

Golfers calmly putted on the links at NTC/Liberty Station instead of frantically driving home.

Young men sold boxes of melting ice cream from the Park Boulevard Deli at a steep discount, shouting, “Ice cream! One dollar!” with a gusto akin to ballpark vendors. Listen to the cell phone video I shot of them.

• At Trolley Barn Park in University Heights, usually nearly empty by sundown, families were still arriving as the sun dropped and the sky glowed orange. Picnics and cuddles, Frisbees and skateboards, running kids and dogs.

• Like many others, Maria DeVincenzo “got to meet a lot of neighbors that normally are not out and about,” as she wrote on our Facebook page.

• Neighbors also mattered to Nina Hall (who writes for voiceofsandiego.org and the Union-Tribune) and her family. They were some of the many people who were stuck in elevators.

If it weren’t for my extremely kind neighbors, who worked for two hours with a crowbar and muscle, my kids and I would just be getting out of the elevator now…

• Jami Bright was prepared for the emergency:

So glad everything was charged up to full capacity. We loved being able to utilize our emergency lights and food and water that we had thankfully bought just for such an occasion. It was hard not being able to open the refrigerator or use the elevator, but that was the extent of our hardship.

• Former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña summed up her experience:

Considered beach to cool off but wanted to avoid driving and prep for potential long term outage: candles, food/water, feed pets, check senior neighbors. They were fine. It was quiet, stars were great, heat was tolerable, pets were happy I was hanging out with them.

• Judging by the photos on the Internet, Mandy Barre wasn’t the only one who noticed the amazing skies:

It was absolutely beautiful last night with no light pollution. One could see and appreciate the stars and the quiet.

• Joe Wolfe posted a collection of shots, including this beauty of a nearly full moon over rooftops.

My favorite comment of the last day comes from Michelle Guerin of DiscoverSD.com: “Ugh that was so close to a 3-day weekend…

What was your blackout experience? Will you share your photos, videos, tweets, texts and stories with us? Post them below or send them to me and I’ll share them with everyone for you.

I’m Grant Barrett, engagement editor for voiceofsandiego.org, in part a new-fangled opinion editor. Got some strong opinions and ideas? Let me help you get them in front of tens of thousands of readers. Drop me a line at grant@voiceofsandiego.org or call me at (619) 550-5666.

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