East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

In the dark


This is probably one of those “funny and surreal” things that happen in the everyday life of a writer and that I was told I should share to further my platform and extend my reach or something. So, here goes.

In the last two months we have been exchanging a lot of very frustrating mails and calls with our power provider – a power bill we were expecting in January never materialized, lost who knows where, and we wanted to know how much was the amount we were supposed to pay.

After two months of comings and goings, yesterday morning we finally got our answer – in the form of a pretty menacing letter informing us our payment was overdue, and that we had twenty days based on the date of the letter to pay or they would pull the plug on us.
Considering the letter took ten days to cover the 200 kms from the power company offices to our doorstep, we now know we have nine days to pay the overdue amount – and at least now we know how much it is.

Then last night, a few minutes after midnight, the lights went out.
This is not an unusual occurrence – the grid in this old house was laid out by someone that went to school with Edison, and in general the distribution in our area is subject to fluctuations and brownouts.
When stuff happens and everything goes black, we need to go outside, where the meter is, and restart it.
Only this time it didn’t work.

There was a beautiful moon last night, and in our courtyard we were able to read without using a torchlight our provider’s emergency number – that is “guaranteed 24/7 assistance”, and is available from 8 am to 9 pm, Monday to Friday. Someone has a rather confused idea of what 24/7 means.

So there was a moderate amount of cursing and much running around.
Was this some kind of area-wide blackout?
Had the company decided they did not feel like waiting another ten days and had just cut our lines?
Had the rat we have been chasing the last few days eaten through some wire, and were therefore sharing our (dark) house with a toasted rodent?
Having eliminated the blackout and the zapped mouse hypotheses, we waited for the sun to rise in order to call the “24/7” assistance.

This morning, before I called, I was caught by a sudden inspiration, and tried unplugging the cordless phone.
The plug was wet.
We restarted the meter and now we are again enjoying our internet connection and our electric teapot.

Humidity was always a problem in this place, and the rains of the last few days, followed by intense heat, have caused enough humidity to short one of our plugs.

All’s well that ends well.
My brother’s PC was on when the power failed, and apparently his security systems have interpreted the event like some kind of EMP attack and went into some kind of Terminator-grade lock-down- if you hear cursing in the background, is my brother restoring all his passwords and access permission.
But those are the funny and surreal occurrences in the life of an Android programmer, and have no place on this blog.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “In the dark

  1. That was a pretty amusing read – perhaps because it was happening to someone else. I was struck by how similar this is to life in India and had to.check where you are based. A couple of months ago I heard crackling sounds from the wires – at night of course and switched off the mains. We discovered in the morning that a leak from the upstairs flat had short circuited all our wires. Awful! Hope all is well with your electricity now.


    • Everything seems to work, thank you!
      As for where I am, I am in the wine hills of Northern Italy, about one hour drive from Milan.
      But this place is, to quote the poet, “where hope and the highway end” 😀


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