Load shedding

Posted on May 31, 2010


You look up at the spinning blades of your ceiling fan, listening to the steady hum of its motor. Every now and then, when there’s a power surge or a slight trip in the electricals, you can just about notice the drop in speed of the blades. It’s generally not a problem until load shedding completely sets in.

The first thing you notice is the silence. To be perfectly honest, you don’t realize that its been silent for a while. Part of this ignorance can be attributed to denial, and part to that sudden sense of despair and disbelief that the lights are in fact, out. It’s the middle of the afternoon, so the only sound you’ll hear outside your bedroom window will probably be the watchman outside, trudging absentminded along the gravel path to your gate.

You decide that its smartest to not move around much. The more you keep walking about a house with no electricity or ventilation, the quicker you are likely to get tired. You’re still looking up at the blades, that have stopped moving. Of course, they haven’t stopped in your head yet. You’re looking at each of them longingly, almost willing them to move, but they don’t.

Move...please move...move your blades....

Time moves on. The first beads of sweat are appearing on your forehead, but you know better than to wipe them away. These first few beads need to be cherished, and you tilt your head left and right, feeling them drip down your cheeks, down your neck. Oddly enough, they’re a sense of comfort for you. The next stage is going to be worse, so you might as well enjoy this small part now.

It’s about twenty minutes now. The sweat that you were enjoying earlier is now your worst enemy, sticking to your clothes, clinging onto your back, but you still don’t feel like getting up. You’re still gazing wet-eyed up at the ceiling fan, albeit with a lot less faith in it. It’s about time to feel around for a newspaper, that can be folded into a paper fan. You go to work on specific parts of your body that are especially problematic. As the wind from your ‘fan’ starts slowly drying the sweat off you, you develop the smallest goose bumps. As the slightest chill runs down your entire body, you’re struck with an idea.

Goose bumps can help. You strip off the Tshirt, that’s soaked pretty bad by now. You then lie back again, and slowly run your fingers along different parts of your now open chest. The goose bumps that result do their job, drying you much better, and faster. More importantly, you have that ‘goose chill’ to look forward to every few seconds. You repeat your finger down your body, every few seconds or so.

This whole process is tiring though, and your mind starts to rebel against you, creating a migraine that mixed with this heat, starts to make you angry. You sit up for the first time in the last hour, leaving a wet patch on the bed behind you, where your back was. You flip the pillow so its cooler, lie back down on dryer place, and close your eyes. Sleep, you command your mind. If you sleep through it, you figure you won’t notice it. It’s all in your mind, this heat. You take your mind to a favourite place, isolated, colder, breezy. And just as you drift off to slumber, you’re awoken by a strange snapping noise, coupled with real breeze.

You open your eyes, head pounding like a piston. You spot the blades moving, the lights are back on again. You clutch yourself, feeling chilly and ill. You can’t get back to sleep. You glance at the clock. 6 more hours, and it’s all going to begin again. You sigh, and close your eyes.

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