Electricity – you don't miss it til it's gone

by Suw on April 29, 2003

Where are we? Oh yes, Tuesday. That’s right. I’m all kinda thrown because Sunday, usually a day of surreptitious shopping and pretending to be working, miraculously turned into a day of rest. Yes, that’s right, sitting down somewhere that was not in front of a computer.
By the time Fflwff had dragged me out of bed, the electricity had gone off, and it didn’t come back again until 7pm. Initially, I was at a loss. What would I do? I’d have a nice shower… Oh no, can’t. Um, OK, bath instead. Then I thought I’d kill some time until I could get on the internet by doing something constructive, like ironing. Oh, wait, that’s out too. Well, I really do need to dyson the flat… OK, starting to see a pattern here.
I must admit, I had started to feel a bit twitchy by lunchtime, and actually ended up leaving the house and going to Tescos, where they had electricity but no internet. I had hoped that this masterstroke of timekilling strategy would end with me returning home, laden with goodies, only to find the electricity back and my computer ready and waiting to go online.
It didn’t.
So I faffed.
I rang people I haven’t spoken to in years.
I rang people I’d spoken to last week.
I rediscovered the lost art of reading, devouring most of the New Scientist in one hit. (It lands on my mat every Thursday, and I never have time to read it all. Plus I have several months worth of Scientific American still untouched by human hands).
I fed the cat. Several times. I played with the cat. I let the cat out. I let the cat back in again.
I stared at the heaps of paperwork on my desk and contemplated sorting them out, but found that particular activity quite easy to resist.
I opened the front door and wandered round the garden, killing approximately 28 seconds. (It’s a small garden.)
I flicked through the guide book to South Australia that I bought on Saturday.
I kicked myself for going into town to buy a guide book to South Australia on Saturday instead working because I had assumed I could do it on Sunday.
I kept thinking, oh, well, spare time, I’ll just put the TV on…
The silence was positively deafening.
Obviously I wasn’t the only one faffing, as mid-afternoon, two fire engines came screaming into the close, only to park up and sit bemusedly for five minutes before screaming off into the far distance again. I suspect little Johnny downstream was bored and thought that calling 999 would be a fun jape.
Then… suddenly and without warning, the lounge light came on at about 6.30pm and scared the bejeesus out of me. I’m not quite sure about the mechanism for that – how can something you’re expecting to happen any minute still make you jump? I get that with phone calls, when you ring someone up and they do the ‘Oh, I’ll call you back in a moment’ thing and you put the phone down and a few moments later they ring back and I leap out of my chair like some evil dead zombie dripping blood and gore has just materialised in front of me.
Um, anyway, yes, the lights came back on. And then went off again. And came back on again… For about 10 minutes. I think someone was trying to communicate something really very important in Morse, but unfortunately the only Morse I have is the beebs and bips at the beginning of Barrington Pheloung’s Inspector Morse theme tune, which I could sing to you but not translate.
I prefer to think that it was Douglas Adams telling me that he was right about 42, and forget about the towels.
The thing that surprised me though, apart from the sudden brightness, was how noisy my house is. My cordless phone was bleating like an orphaned lamb, the microwave tooted, the fridge and freezer started humming, the thermostat was clicking like an old granny going for the World Speed Knitting record and the video started whirring like, well a whirry thing.
I think I preferred it when it was quiet.
So, I had my internet and email back, the thing I’d been craving all day, the thing whose absence had caused me jitters and chronic withdrawal anxiety, and guess what? No emails. No private messages. And sweet fanny adams in terms of anything interesting online whatsoever. All that waiting for precisely nothing.
When they launch the Twelve Steps for Internet Dependency, I’m gonna be there. But don't worry. I'll blog about it.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: