There you are, enjoying a steaming hot shower after a freezing cold day. You take your time, reveling in the warm water running down your shoulders, allowing you to relax and feel rejuvenated after a tiring day. A flicker of light gets you worried for an instance, but you decided to think nothing of it. And just when you lift your foot to get out, the lights go out and you find yourself in a total blackout. You can see absolutely nothing, so it is good you already know your way around. But what do you do?
Firstly, you need to put something around you, if only to soak up the water dripping from you. Then you need to find light of some sort – be it candles, the computer screen (for as long as the battery lasts), or even a torch on your smartphone (see, it is smart after all).
Voices are heard in the corridor, because it is not just your flat that lies in darkness, but the entire building. You half-open the window shutter to witness that the entire block is out of power. This is interesting.
It might take a while to get back the technology you are so accustomed to, so what do you do? You mainly appreciate the silence, acknowledging how much noise electricity actually makes – well, you did have the fridge, computer, television, radio, heater, and tea kettle on.
Then you begin to wonder what would people do without electricity? Sure, you still have your computer and phone working, but for how long? And there is no internet, so basically you are cut-off from that form of communication.
Are you dressed yet? You need to keep warm.
There are noises outside, running up and down the stairs. At least, someone is trying to fix the problem.
You head to the kitchen for a snack. There is no use staying hungry all through this ordeal. Find something healthy, like wholemeal chips. That will keep you busy while waiting in the dark.
You hope the power will return before the battery of your savior-machines bails on you.
And all of a sudden, there is light! You can hear the fridge sounds return, the TV turning back on, the modem signaling it’s on, the computer plugging in, the radio singing, the heater warming up again. You rejoice with the “return to civilization”. You exhale a sigh of relief, as your boredom ends.
But it is short-lived, as the blackout revisits. Apparently, the problem was not fixed.
So you sit and wait, until the power eventually returns for good this time. And as you watch the candle light casts its shadows in the dark, all you can do is acknowledge how addicted we have become to things we take for granted. Things that we can now not live without. Things that may help us, but at the same time have converted us into technology-junkies vulnerable to any situation that does not involve their use. Because, be honest, how many of you took a photo during a blackout to post once the power is back on?
N.B. Based on a true incident, Athens, Greece, 30 November 2015 (apart from the blackout selfie).