Inconveniences

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write. Birmingham was hit by heavy rain this past weekend and most people in the area lost power–including yours truly. I was already running behind on way too many deadlines and the outage brought more inconveniences. I graded papers by candlelight. Bruce had to resort to finding and then using a manual can opener. Celia and Helena sat playing their Nintendos, but yearned for the days when they could plug them in and not have to worry about a game being cut short.

I was marveling at the bright lights that (finally) greeted me when I got home from work late last night when Edwina called me to ask for a ride this morning to Cooper Green. Her son’s car wasn’t working and one of her sisters who sometimes transports her was affected by the storm and has neither a house nor a vehicle at the moment. After much juggling and many phone calls, Edwina was able to find a ride to the doctor and I met her there between errands and appointments of my own to give her a ride back home.

Even though I’ve traveled to many places in the world where electricity is a privilege that is far from reliable, I’m still shocked when, suddenly, the lights go out in my own home. I can’t open the refrigerator or warm up a bowl of soup. The four of us begin scrambling for batteries for the flashlights so that we can “get by” until the problem gets fixed. We complain about not being able to find anything in the dark and compare stories of misery with our colleagues and neighbors who are dealing with the same inconveniences.

Sometimes, we slow down and take in the silence that surrounds us.

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