Thursday, October 13, 2011

you light up my life

Hi.  My name is Steve.  And I’m an addict.

An electronic addict -- that is.

I have seen studies that show we moderns can get as much thrill out of hearing a “you’ve got email notice” as they do from cocaine and sex.  I am rather skeptical of this type of study.  There is usually something untoward going on with my tax dollars.  But the scientists may be on to something here.

At least two days before the hurricane was predicted to set its landing gear in Melaque, CFE (the power company) turned off our electricity.  No lights.  No computer.  No internet.

I was stuck in the dark with the bit of power my batteries would provide to my Kindle, mobile telephone, and flashlight. 

It was an odd feeling.  As if I had been cut from the world -- because I could not get immediate electronic gratification.

I have been here before.  In the early 1970s I lived in Greece.  The only communication I had with family and friends was the mail.  (It may be one reason I still get excited just walking into a post office.)  But the mail was adequate – even when it took a week or two to receive a letter or package.

But we now live in a far more immediate world.  Even though I knew the power was going to go out, I felt a chill when suddenly everything went dark and still.  Almost as if I had died.  And then the power came back on.  Went off.  Back on.  And then off.  Finally off.

What was once a bright little living womb was now black.  I read a brief chapter on my Kindle.  Rationing out the battery for -- I had no idea how long.

The refrigerator became the Especially Holy Place -- to be entered only once a day.  And because there was no power to pump water to the roof, the toilet played its part as a much-used reservoir and the shower a desert.

I assumed the worst.  That power would be out for at least a week.

I was wrong.  As you already know.  In the early evening (less than 20 hours later), the lamp I had left turned on to herald our reentry into the modern world came on.

And the refrigerator.  And the water pump.  And my blessed computer and its priest the internet.

I have had some pleasant experiences in my life (in fact, my life has been almost nothing but pleasant experiences).  But hearing the whir of electric motors is near the top of my list.

I am an addict.

And the CFE workers are my suppliers.

At least, I have made it to the first step.


al lanier said...

It's amazing how circumstances can break an addiction... We were without TV of any kind for two or three months and during that time we just took up reading or doing other things. We had a relapse though. As soon as we started getting Canadian satellite TV, we were back to watching a lot of useless crap though not as much as before. 

Steve Cotton said...

I kicked the television habit just over 20 years ago now.  Whenever I try to hand the remote controls back to Mexican hotel clerks, I always get the same response.  "But, you won't be able to watch television."  As if I had just offered the option that Our Lady of Guadalupe is a pole dancer in Chicago.

wiley stagg said...


You do not have to go through this, Just go to Manzanillo and buy an inverter not large with clips for the battery on your car or the lighter and idle the car while you charge your laptop or whatever.

Steve Cotton said...

I had a great inverter. My brother gave it to me when we drove to Mexico together. But it disappeared in the first of my three truck break-ins. I may get another when I am in The States for a brief December visit.

But that would be like methadone. A computer without internet is like -- well, a computer without internet.

ANM said...

An electronic addict.  Up comes the image of you and Ready Kilowatt, lying side by side in a gutter, your arms each plugged into a outlet socket, your eyes only half open as you both go on the nod and into the nether realm.

Enough to make a poor mother weep, or creep. 


Jonna said...

CFE can be really impressive, impressively bad with their bills and impressively good when there is a disaster.  I too was awed by how quickly power was on after Wilma, and the army of CFE trucks idling at the border waiting for the storm to pass.  Since Wilma hit us the same year that Katrina hit New Orleans we got a great example of an efficient response (QRoo) and a horrible one (LA).  

Lauriematherne said...

Consider this a great lesson.  Communication is vital during an emergency. With limited Spanish, what if all you had was a radio? Would you understand the directives? What if you couldn't reach neighbors because there was 5 foot of water in your house? And no cell phone? Katrina was an eye opener. But for many, it was more than that. Without communication, I know of many who were in trees or rooftops, just hoping that someone would see them. But I suspect that the more we pile on advice, you will do the opposite. So no more counsel on this theme from me. Next time, you may not be so lucky but that's your call. 

Steve Cotton said...

I am a proud user of electricity -- the energy of the future.  Isn't that what Edison told us?

Steve Cotton said...

There certainly are contradictions.  Just as there are with TelMex.  But I can live with the down sides when the up sides are so good.  Of course, we seldom have weather issues like this.  And billings are always a monthly opportunity to fall into billing lottery.

Steve Cotton said...

I agree that I was very fortunate this time.  I will commend Jalisco though for their emergency announcement system.  It works great.  Why they add an English translation, I am not certain.  But they do.  And I am thankful.

Don Cuevas said...

A week ago last Monday, my laptop died. I took it the same day to Morelia to the authorized Apple Repair Shop. We are still waiting for a new mother board to come from Mexico City. The good news was that it's still covered by an extended warranty plan.

But my total addiction withdrawal has been averted by a friend who lent me a spare MacBook. Because I had just backed up my files the night before the disaster, I hit upon the ingenious idea of booting the loaner MacBook from the external drive. In that way, all my registered programs, passwords, preferences and Internet cookies would work as before, albeit a little slower. I'm certain that there will be some file synchronization issues when I get my laptop back, but I'll deal with them at that point.

A secondary barrier against total withdrawal is my iPod Touch, which although somewhat limited, still can give me email and Web access, as long as I am in a functioning wifi zone. Yesterday, while at the Morelia Starbuck's on Av. Camelinas, I signed up with them in order to access the Internet at any Starbuck's in Mexico without having to go through the usual password hooraw.

It wasn't too weird, and it seemed to work. So far, I've received only an activation email from Starbuck's Mexico. 

Saludos,Don Cuevas 

Steve Cotton said...

Wow!  It would be like an alcoholic finding a bottle of Bourbon hidden in a cabinet.

Leslie Harris de Limon said...

My name is Leslie, and I too am an electronics addict.  There!  I took the first step, but that's as far as I'm willing to go! :)  

Glad to hear that you didn't have to suffer through withdrawals for too long! :)  

Steve Cotton said...

Sounds like me. A true believer in One Step programs.