MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “power cut”

(Not) Another regular Friday name was Henrietta. It was a straightforward name, albeit a bit irregular for a female. You would think it was easy to remember, and not to be confused. But today when she went two hours in advance of the opening time to pick up the concert tickets for the next day, which she had booked four months earlier, the lady in charge told her she could not find her name on the list. There was a Henry, though, with the same surname, for (weirdly enough) the same tickets. It took 45 minutes to prove she was the Henry, although, the Henry was in fact a Henrietta, who was her.

By the time she returned home, people were already flooding the cafés for their afternoon coffees. She decided to chop some vegetables in order to make a quick salad with some baked beans she was about to boil. Quick, easy, and healthy, she thought. But, alas, her new knives would prove their worth. She nearly chopped off her left index finger together with a slice of tomato. A crimson stream began to flow from that little finger, soon turning five napkins from white to red and refusing to stop. Henrietta rushed to the pharmacy for some first aid. She would have to pay attention to the entire hand now, as the wound was deep and required time to heal.

By the time she was back, the beans were not baked, but burnt. And now she had a black pot to scrub with one hand.

This is when she realized how many things come to us so automatically every day, that we hardly pay any attention to them. For example, how much work that single finger does. How vital it is for the entire hand to function. She noticed how hard it was to do the slightest of things – from getting dressed to washing your hair, to putting on contact lenses – all with one hand.

As the sun set, and calm returned to Henrietta’s apartment, which now smelled of burnt food – she sought solace with Duchess, her fluffy, white Persian cat. But, as her name implied, the feline could not care less for her mistress. So as Henrietta compromised with online videos of cats asking to be cuddled, the power suddenly went out.

For one and a half hours, she sat in the dark in a burnt-smelling home with a bleeding finger and an inconsiderate pet. She was all too happy to go to bed and end this adventurous Friday. It was not so TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday), after all.


N.B. Based on a true story.


Selfish Shellfish Selfies

ShellfieGo into a café. Look around. How many people do you see who are really conversing? Who are actually talking and listening to each other? Look at their hand gestures, their body movement, their eye contact. Any? Now, count how many people you see instead being distracted by a digital device. Too many to count, huh?

It’s amazing how the first thing we have come to notice when entering a café, a bar, a restaurant, is whether they have free Wi-Fi or not. As if that is the criterion of whether their food will be healthy or tasty, or even edible. Because of course, we then have to check-in, post on every social media account we have, that we are at that specific place. And then, we have that irresistible need – that feels like an itch that must be scratched – to take selfies of everything, as if that is what will prove our existence.

We have become such narcissists and so self-centred that when someone asks us what we do, we hesitate for a while, and our thoughts run to the last thing we posted or read online in order to find an interesting conversation starter. How many hours of the day do we spend sunk in a screen, reading. As though we are shellfish retreating in their hard exterior, waiting for the moment a pearl will emerge. Reading about the news, about other people’s status updates, about pretty much everything. Because we need to be informed about everything. And then we also need to have an opinion about everything too. And we obviously need to post it to demonstrate that we are opinionated and follow the current trends.

But just consider for a moment, what happens during a power cut? We sit in silence not knowing what to do. And if we still have charged phones, we might take a selfie and save it for later, to post as soon as power is back – #blackout #nowwhat #awkward.

Is this what we want to be remembered as? The generation hashtag? We are so busy trying to prove that we are active digitally that we don’t really do much in reality. What is the point of going for a hike or for a cross-country train ride, when you keep posting updates of your location? How are you exactly enjoying being in nature away from the digital insanity? Sure, take pictures, but save them for later. Then you can comprehensively recap your experience and tell others how worthwhile it was to escape for a while. Prompt yourself and others to step away from the screen.

Because, honestly, is this all we have to show for ourselves? That we are selfish shellfish taking selfies?


Also part of Daily Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me

Also part of Daily Post: 21st Century Citizen

Going up? No, down…

Observation-Elevator-BEX01-The elevator doors opened and I slid in. I always felt a bit weird when there was someone else already inside. But his face seemed familiar. He was tall and Mediterranean. Charming, you could say. He smiled politely and I returned the gesture. It was plain courtesy. Then it happened.

The power went out and we were stuck. In the elevator. Together.

Well, that was something new. I had never been stuck in an elevator before and I didn’t know what to do. How to react. I had only seen this scene played out in movies, but never in real life. So, what now?

I looked at him. Maybe he knew better. His colour had turned pale and the smile had disappeared. What happened? He looked almost scared, as if he had instantly turned into a lost puppy. He also seemed a bit flushed. What was going on with this guy? I wanted to ask if he was OK, but I wasn’t sure if I was! Maybe he was claustrophobic? What do you do in such cases?

A million thoughts passed through my mind. How long would we be in here? What if I had to go to the bathroom? (They never show you that in the movies!) And who was this intriguing man changing colours like a chameleon? I was sure I had seen him before but we never actually spoke, other than the usual greetings.

He seemed as if he wanted to do or say something. Who was he? Was I in danger? Is that where I remembered him from? FBI’s most wanted? But, wait I don’t know who is on the FBI list. So it wasn’t that…

It was getting hot in there. And I wasn’t planning on taking off any clothes, even if that seems to be the norm in movies.

It seemed that we had been in there for hours. Silent. Immersed in our noisy thoughts.

Fifteen minutes had in reality passed and the power came back on and we continued our descent to the outer world.

“Hey, I’m Alex”.

He spoke!!! I looked at him with eyes glaring in amazement. Couldn’t he have voiced a word before, at least to reassure me, that I wasn’t stuck in an elevator with a serial killer?

“Hi”, I managed to utter.

“I live in the flat upstairs. Maybe we can meet more often since we’re practically neighbours”. The smile was back. Large and warm and sparkling like the ones on Colgate commercials!

That was the start of a beautiful friendship…and maybe even more! 😉

Also part of the Daily Prompt: Elevator – Fiction writers: You’re stuck in an elevator with an intriguing stranger. Write this scene.

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