Sunday, May 18, 2008

Living in the 1800s

For two days now I’ve had no power. My landlord’s phone is "temporarily disconnected" according to the automaton on the other end, the power company insists that power is going into the house just fine, I can’t find a breaker in my apartment or the basement apartment I broke into, and the electrician can’t come until tomorrow. Lovely.

But you know actually, it’s not a very big inconvenience.

Here are my observations:

During the day I don’t miss it at all, because since Earth Day I’ve gotten used to no lights before 9pm. Even after dark last night was kind of cool. Since I was afraid of using all the juice in my computer by watching a movie, or having my phone die if I called a friend to entertain me, I lit a few candles and climbed in bed with a pack of peanut butter sun drops (like M&Ms but ‘natural’) and a Dashiell Hammett novel. The wavering candlelight held right up to the page helped with ambience. I think something like Wilky Collins' The Moonstone or some other book that takes place in a time when there was no electricity would be better; I’ll try and find one for tonight. I read until 10:30 or so, and went to bed.

This morning I woke before 7, because the sun was shining through the window and I didn’t want to waste it. Feeling a bit braver in the light, I went downstairs and opened the door to the apartment beneath. It’s filthy: dishes in the sink, spills all over the floor, beer cans lining the couch, and a smell like old cat liter. No one’s been there for weeks, so I have no idea what’s going on. I searched again for a fuse box and didn’t find one, even in the closets. What I’ve now done is plugged a series of extension cords into the wall in the vacant yuckfest apartment, and flung them up onto my porch where they’re connected to a surge protector. Now I can charge my phone and computer a few times today, but can flip the switch easily on the surge protector after so I don’t mooch a ton of their electricity. I can unplug the whole thing before dark tonight and go again tomorrow if need be.

I’m worried about my fridge. I don’t want to open the door because it’s so tiny and poorly insulated. Then again, it may be hot already in there; should I be trying to eat those foods today? Guess I’m back to no fridge, huh? Now all I need is one of those old candlesticks with a handle to carry around with me and a whalebone corset and it'll be a regular Dickens festival in here!

Another thing --> All of this power outage business has given me a chance to look at the meter when I ordinarily wouldn’t. My metered electricity is 1/6th of what any of the 4 others in my building are. Woot woot! Granted, it's smaller and the others are 2 or 3 bedrooms. Still, it's not THAT much smaller!

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