Power Blackout; or, Apocalypse Now

Power Blackout; or, Apocalypse Now

I grew up in a one-street village situated (in)conveniently at the bottom of a valley surrounded by woods and wine. Whoever founded the settlement was clearly wasted: while the sunny slopes of the hills did provide a nice site to plant grape vine, rain water tended to flow down the slopes and flood the village on the regular. I also blame said village founder, deceased since about the Middle Ages, for not foreseeing that the villagers of the future will be addicted to electricity and won’t be chuffed with the frequent power blackouts for whose frequent occurrence in the valley there is a scientific explanation which I don’t remember.

The village natives took the blackouts with a stiff upper lip, though they weren’t even British. My mother looms large in my memory as the candle fairy – not to be confused with candy fairy – as she roamed the rooms of the house carrying a lit candle and dripping wax on the carpets. The blackouts weren’t that bad as long as the stove ran on gas, the heating on wood (hence the rapidly thinning woods behind our house) and the TV mostly didn’t run at all anyway. The situation grew worse with the advent of the computer and escalated quickly with the arrival of the dial-up internet (though the latter mostly didn’t run anyway).


Now I would kill for Wi-Fi – though I will deny it at the court of law because my blog was hijacked and I’m not even writing this. I live in a moderately sized small town (provided that a small town can be otherwise than small), large enough to boast a reliable power supply because no one wants TV-less and Wi-Fi-less people taking to the streets each time when there’s a little rain or wind or whatever else upsets the volts and watts. Recently I experienced the first major blackout here. To say that it was apocalyptic would be a gross understatement.

It started – as could be reasonably expected – with a Wi-Fi failure. My email client wouldn’t download my mail. After composing a less than flattering letter of complaint addressed to Microsoft Outlook® (composing mentally, that is, deprived as I was of both email and outlook), it occurred to me to check the Wi-Fi connection. It was down. However, Bill Gates helpfully advised that I search the Internet for help when the Internet isn’t working. What a practical tip – not. Also, I suspect that Bill wasn’t as smart as publicity suggests.

As I averted my eyes from the laptop in sheer frustration, I noticed that the thermostat on the wall grew blank. Does it run on Wi-Fi, as do I? As I stood up to investigate, I saw that the clock of the oven grew blank too. What an odd coincidence. It almost looks as though there was a power blackout. Wait. It is a power blackout! I was puzzled, bemused and sad. What a bloody betrayal of civilisation! I curled up on the floor next to my cat, who was ignorant of the tragedy that befell us, and waited for the renewal of life energy. The wait took a while.


Did I mention I was waiting? I waited until the floor got cold because the floor heating, while it doesn’t use Wi-Fi, still uses electricity. I waited until I grew hungry, which was too bad, because my pantry was only stocked with microwave meals, instant noodles and toast. I wasn’t sufficiently starved out to eat uncooked toast. I couldn’t use the toaster, the kettle, the stove – and I couldn’t use Google to search for a wilderness survival kit (neither could I use Bing, even if I chose to descend so low). I had a vague notion that you should hide under the table in emergency, but maybe I’m confusing it with a nuclear emergency.

Driven by hunger, I descended as low as I could – that is, downstairs. I was pleased to see that the stairway was lit, however creepily, with emergency lights. (I’m aware that I used the word emergency three times in the last three sentences, but it’s an emergency!) I headed to the convenience shop conveniently situated on the ground floor of my block of flats to get some rolls. Alas, the shop was shut due to power cut. Don’t say. This was a relatively cheerful discovery in contrast to the subsequent finding that the house lift apparently runs on electricity too. I live on the sixth floor.


By the time I climbed up to the cold, dark and (most shockingly) Wi-Fi-less flat, I nearly incurred a blackout myself. I’m not terribly athletic, to say the least. My heavy heaving woke up the cat, who yawned, made a yoga cat-cow and casually approached to observe me experiencing a seizure akin to an anaphylactic shock. The cat grew bored and abandoned her dying can- and door-opener after five minutes. I kept on hyperventilating somewhat longer.

Resilient as I am, I decided to test if instant noodle soup can be brought to life with warm tap water when hot water isn’t available. Guess what. It can’t. The result tasted as I imagine a piece of plastic immersed in lukewarm water would taste – nasty. Serve me right for having silly thoughts of food when I had a fridge full of booze. I poured a nice glass of white, curled up with a book and grabbed the cat to sustain my bodily temperature on her heat. At that point the power went back on. Wine solves everything.

44 thoughts on “Power Blackout; or, Apocalypse Now

  1. LOL Bing! You’re right, wine does solve everything!! And I’m with you, we are useless without electricity. My first world problem for today – my iPod wouldn’t connect in my car and I had to listen to the radio – eek!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha ha ha! Loss of WiFi is cause for despair these days. Having moved from a town that had broadband only as decent as reliable dial-up, I’m still adjusting to the magic of proper WiFi but I do miss it when it disappears.

    I grew up in an era of power cuts and enforced blackouts in my home town. These often happened with no warning. As a result, I am a neurotic adult who always has ample candles to hand, batteries kept near torches and ample food we can eat raw – though I now have a gas hob which provides the opportunity for hot food. It’s still annoying when we lose power though. The last winter storm in which we lost power had my kids weeping, wailing and gnashing their teeth. They did, however, end up addicted to games of charades and ghost stories told by the light of the fire.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, as usual! It’s always so interesting to hear how it is for others – and our experience appears to be similar here. I used to be used to blackouts when I was a kid but not anymore. It’s easier today in that one can at least use the phone – for light, for emergency calls, for mobile internet – and it’s harder in that everything uses electricity and we’re so used to it! I love it that your story has a happy ending though, with the kids enjoying the stories 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for commenting and reminding me that I should be grateful for my first world problems! And I indeed am 🙂 I’m glad that you take your situation with a sense of humour though.

      Like

  3. Reblogged this on Zika's Musings and commented:
    Hello dear readers. Hope your Sunday is unfolding beautifully. I found this piece of humor on Mara Eastern’s website and thought to share with you. I love her approach here to those less-than-desirable situations in life.
    To Mara, I would suggest (not) a trip to Naija -short slang for Nigeria – where we, like the 4 horsemen, ride on this daily apocalypse. We bathe in it everyday and it’s really nothing. Once you’re born, the orientation program begins. Any contrary opinions?😅

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Awe, thank you so much for sharing and also for reminding us, in the more privileged areas, that we don’t have it bad at all! I’m comforted to see that you’re coping with your ordeal with humour and charm 🙂

      Like

  4. That wine wouldn’t have stayed chilled forever in a power-free environment. Best to down it all before it reaches room temperature. It is an emergency after all.

    Like

  5. Next time go to plan W – wine straight away then all else will fall or fall into place. A life without Wi-Fi, scary! Glad you made it out to tell the tale 🙂 Funny as usual in your darkest moments….

    Like

  6. This brought a smile to my lips as I reflected on how quickly the office seems to fall apart the moment the power goes. A case of ‘technology and the loss of self’. A further bigger smile was brought to my face when the power went out for me in china http://wp.me/p3RmHf-4Y . Sadly no wine in the fridge. I shall have to rectify this for future apocalyptic events 🙂

    Like

    1. Now I feel awkward and ungrateful because your story is of course much scarier than mine! You’re right though, there should be wine available at all workplaces! Don’t forget to stock yourself up…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh please do not feel like that! We weren’t scared for a minute just resigned to another ‘hard’ day in the office. Ultimately virtually ended up rolling around on the floor laughing about our ‘stupidity’. Not to mention you post inspired me to write about our experience 🙂

        Like

          1. Back in my home city so blackouts rare, the wine rack well stocked and Internet speeds like lightening 🙂

            Like

  7. I love your writings Mara and it’s so true that wine solves everything. It’s also true that Bing is shit. Duckduckgo doesn’t keep track on your searches (like Google does). So if you want privacy, then duckduckgo is the search enginge to use.

    Like

    1. Thank you. I’m chuffed. Never heard of the Duckthing search engine, will check it out! A good tip just in case I need to search instructions on how to make a homemade bomb or stuff.

      Like

      1. It’s probably one of the most popular search engines used by terrorists 🙂
        Duckduckgo and a VPN client. Or even better: a VPN client and a TOR browser – full anonymity!

        Like

  8. Hahahahahahaha.. Thank goodness for WiFi for giving me the ability to read such a humorous post and for me to be able to respond to said post, at the comfort of my bed under the blanket during this cold night. Using your cat as a source of heat is priceless. Lol. If you had a generator, wine can probably be used to save the day too 😉 though i don’t think i would trade electricity for a sip of wine just yet!

    Like

    1. Yes, praise the god of wifi… 😀 Thank you for reading and for commiserating with my misery – what a cruel fate to be wifi-less! There is only one thing more terrible, which would be being wifi-less and wine-less.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. That’s pleasant by my standards. Every morning she sings the song of her people. Every evening when i return as well.

            Like

          2. you know, after reading that article you shared about why cats talk to us, I have a totally different attitude towards Shelley and her whining now 🙂 <3<3 I have much to thank you for.

            Like

          3. Awe… I’m so glad that you liked the article – I was quite moved by it and I found it very enlightening. Some of the facts they wrote about were common-sense, some I knew before, but the article connected all this into something that makes a perfect sense. I’m trying to listen to my cat more now 😉

            Like

    1. Haha, I see, so off under the table when it’s an earthquake and off in the underground when it’s a nuclear disaster. Or just stay where you are and it will have very much the same effect… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

Say what?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.