I was actually writing my blog about how England conserves energy when the lights in my bed & breakfast here in Johannesburg went out. I was scared at first. Every residence in Johannesburg is fenced in by electric wire. No electricity, no electric wires. My imagination combined with my inclination to worry, inherited from my mother, made me initially assume the worst. I made makeshift provisions for the ambush. I put on all my jackets, grabbed the biggest knife and a can of pork & beans. The beans were to be used for projectile weaponry not sustenance. Though I probably should have grabbed the can opener as a plan B. I actually have a long history of using cans to make my point. More on that in a later blog perhaps.
I was brought down from my unnecessary and completely inadequate war preparation by the proprietor of the B&B knocking on my door to give me a candle. She said it was somewhat common and the lights would be back on in a jiffy. Los Angeles often has rolling blackouts in the summer so I should be used to it instead of going into Armageddon mode.
It was 830pm. I had 3 hours of charge left on my laptop but no internet. What if the lights never came back on? My laptop would became a snazzy paperweight. The lights were off for a little over an hour but it felt like a day. It was 9pm and I was considering going to bed. I can count on my hands how many times I went to bed before 2am last year. What did people do before electricity?! And don’t say board games. You can’t play quality Pictionary in shoddy oil lamp lighting.
The blackout reminded me how precarious and precious things are. It also reminded me that I must re-implement my project to hook my stationary bike up to a generator and harness my own energy…literally