Thomas Edison, Eat Your Heart Out

13 Jun

It’s a household revolution! It’s a miracle! Perhaps you call it science, or a basic modern commodity. It’s sometimes discussed as part of human rights. We have it at our house for the first time ever! “We got electricity! Electricity!” Lucia and I ran shouting through the house last night, giggling, jumping up and down, flipping light switches on and off, plugging things in. Thomas Edison was surely smiling in his grave from our delight in his invention. Our house has been equipped with light bulbs for months now, but we hadn’t been able to use them until just now. It is, indeed, rather miraculous, simple science or not.

flipping the switch! oh the novelty!

flipping the switch! oh the novelty!

Joy!! No Sleep because there is

Joy!! No Sleep because there is “lectricity”

Last November, after being here installed in our light-free home for a year, some politicians came and grandly announced they were bringing electricity to our humble neighborhood. There’s a three block radius where we live where there are houses but there weren’t electric lines yet. Electricity was so close we could see it, but couldn’t have it ourselves. If you’ve never lived without electricity (as I certainly hadn’t beyond a couple weeks of camping), you have no idea how frustrating it is. It affects so many aspects of life. Imagine no washing machines. No refrigerator. No ceiling fans in the land of eternal summer. Not being able to charge a computer or a cell phone. Not being able to use a nebulizer when your kid is sick and not breathing well. Worrying about your expressed breast milk going bad because there’s not much ice left in the cooler today.
So they announced this exciting revolutionary change in our lives, and promised we’d be able to have lights on the Christmas tree. They didn’t tell us in what year that might happen, though. It sure didn’t happen this past Christmas. Work was slow on the project, supposedly because there were three neighborhoods that were getting electric lines. Even if there had been 30 places though, it wouldn’t have been this slow if there were any accountability here.
At the end of November they came and dug some holes, and then nothing else happened until the end of December. They put posts in the holes, and nothing else happened for another six weeks. My birthday came and went. My son was born in March, although he had tried to hold out for the electricity. Now we’ve been sitting here since early April with everything ready, where all they had to do was install meters and flip a switch. It’s the middle of June and there’s still no word on when that might happen, no signs of action. And worst of all, there was no one to protest to, no one to hold accountable. So we’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting, getting more bitter and jaded every day. I mean, it’s a waste for the electric company, too! They could be making money off of us for the use of electricity, but no! The senselessness, the absurdity of sitting here with everything set up, still in darkness, is infuriating! Every day I curse this area, and whoever’s responsible for this total oversight, for making us forgotten and powerless.
We do have a connection to someone who works for the electric company. And he’s tried to help us, but hadn’t been able to do anything. Until suddenly, last night, as we were all about to fall asleep- the four of us, plus Paulina and Emmanuel (who’s visiting thanks to the teacher strike letting him out of classes)- I heard Lucia say someone’s name (who won’t be revealed here on the internet, just in case). And ta-da! He was here in the company truck, silently hooking up our electricity. In 10 minutes our entire life changed. All it took was ten minutes, and knowing how to rig things, since he didn’t have the official lever. Instead he used a rock to weight down whatever it is that needs to be weighed down (reminded me of when we used big rocks as brakes on that borrowed car, and I thought, “Sometimes I love this country”). And we invited him and his partner in for some coffee and cake we just happened to have, and none of us slept until way past our bedtime, because who needs to sleep when there’s light!?
And here I am, working on the computer in my very own house, not worrying about whether I’ll be able to write my blog and do an exercise video, because I can plug in the computer when the battery is low. I mean, imagínate! You really can’t imagine. It’s rainy and dark out and my kitchen has a bright light shining overhead. Imagínate! It is so simple, and marvelous and incredible. “Now we all have electricity!” Lucia announced to me this morning, flipping switches all over the place. “Now Abia got electricity, and Nonna got electricity, and we got electricity!”
Unfortunately, our neighbors don’t have electricity yet. There are still loads of people in the world without electricity. Life is still unfair, and the situation around here is still absurd. But I still rejoice that finally, finally we have electricity. It will never, even mean the same to me as it did before.
Our magic electricity is arriving just in time for Lucia’s 3rd birthday tomorrow, and so she probably won’t remember this period of our life. Khalil certainly won’t. I’ll be reminding them, though, of the early part of their lives when we didn’t have electricity. I hope they never again have to live their lives without this basic, fabulous commodity, but I also hope we don’t take it too much for granted. I haven’t decided what all I’ll do to remind myself of how wonderful this is, but remind myself I will. Because it is revolutionary, it is a miracle, every single minute that we have it. Let there be light! Woo hoo!!!!

Everything looks different with light!

Everything looks different with light!

2 Responses to “Thomas Edison, Eat Your Heart Out”

  1. juliainman June 17, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    I can’t tell you how excited Terry and I are for you all. Lucia’s joy of everyone having electricity brought tears to my eyes. Love you all!

    • exiletomexico June 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

      Thanks! Love you, too! Exciting to see you blogging again! Hugs!

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