Wednesday, April 4, 2012

B is for Brownouts

Darkness can be a good thing. At night for example, when I turn off my lights so I can go to sleep. Then darkness is good. When I want it to be dark, darkness is nice. When darkness is thrust upon me, then it's so not such a good thing.

When the power company here decides, for example, to have rolling brownouts every day for the last month or so, then it's not a good thing. Maybe I should insert here that in the Philippines, a 'brownout' is a power outage that lasts anywhere from minutes to hours. The US term would be blackout.

When I am typing like crazy and getting stuff done on the computer, and the electricity suddenly goes off, and I happen to be working on the old laptop whose battery died two years ago, and needs a constant supply of electricity to keep my thoughts that I just typed out from getting vaporized, then it's not a good thing. Thankfully I've got a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) hooked up to it now, it helps minimize the screaming when I forget to save every few minutes.

A character-building family dinner during yet another brownout...
I'm trying to think of something good to say about brown-outs, that they are character building or something appropriate since I'm a missionary and all. That as a missionary I am immune to unkind thoughts directed at the power company. But I'm not.

However, there's one thing that does remind me to be thankful. When I was a kid, my family moved as missionaries to a location that had NO electricity unless you were willing to sprain your elbow cranking the old diesel generator to life. We lived with 12 volt battery lights or petromaxes after dark. (A petromax is a kerosene-powered coleman type lantern that is 30x more dangerous because you have to coax the liquid kerosene into a gas state to burn brightly. This usually means that you get kerosene flames coming out of the lantern three feet high and you could lose your eyebrows before you get the mixture right.)

When we finally started to get electricity, it was on for about two hours. And we were Super excited to have that two hours of two-hundred and twenty volts added to our evening.

So, my character-building moment that I am having right now is this: The brownouts we have now last about as long as our daily allotment of electricity used to last. So, yes, there really is always something to be thankful for, no matter how much I hate to admit it, and no matter how dark my electricity-free evening might be.

1 comment:

Donna Amis Davis said...

We remember how exciting it was when Brookes Point got electricity. It was around 1985, I think, when they joined the 20th Century!

Yes, it is all about perspective, being thankful for what you have, not hating what you don't have, isn't it?

Oh, and by the way, would you guys consider removing those captcha things off your comments? They are annoying.