Tuesday, October 26, 2021

tripping the breaker

One of life's greatest gifts is the interruption of routines.

When it looked as if Hurricane Rick might be paying Barra de Navidad a visit, I stowed the plastic table and chair on the upper terrace. For me,  that was a big step. I usually leave the set in place. So far, none of our storms have plucked either of them from my tenuous grasp.

Otherwise, I joined the rest of the village in going about our daily chores. None of my Mexican friends were the least bit surprised when the hurricane made landfall two states over in Michoacán.

Having dodged the prospect of being without power and internet for a bit, I spent Sunday as I have spent most Sundays here. I walked from Barra to San Patricio for church. Stopped and chatted with acquaintances. Read. Wrote.

I was just topping up my evening walk when a Prussian formation of dark clouds moved in and graciously shared some of the moisture they had accumulated over the Pacific. Even though not part of the hurricane, they were the type of weather camp followers that major storm systems drag along with them.

And rain it did. Not like the tropical storm rains we receive. But it was sufficient.

Then it happened. The power failed. It was almost like boarding a time machine and waking up in the middle of the seventh century. Everything electronic was dead. Those powered by batteries were at the end of their day and needed charging.

So, I did something I have not done in years. I reverted to my farmer family DNA and went to bed -- simply because the sun had gone down.

When I woke up, it was still dark outside. Well, it was also dark inside because the power had not been restored.

On a normal day at that time, I would be downloading my newspaper and the daily news summary from The Economist. But I did not have enough power left on my telephone to do that. I wanted to keep some battery power in place in case I needed the telephone for some unknown emergency. I guess, though, that is why they are called emergencies.

A quick reconnoiter of the neighborhood revealed that the village had power. The only outage was in my neighborhood, and only about a block was affected there. 

Thee way homes are hooked to the grid in my neighborhood baffles me. The house across the street does not have power. The house west of mine does. The apartment building next to me has only one unit without power; the rest are fine.

I lived in Villa Obregón for six years. When the power failed in the neighborhood, half of the neighborhood lost power; the other half did not. Odder, half of my unit would have power; the other half would not. I never did figure out why that was. I am certain there is a story there somewhere.

Because this morning's outage had stripped me of my citizenship in the twenty-first century, I decided to enjoy my non-electronic freedom. I was Prometheus unbound. On my little walk, I could have been Samuel Pepys strolling the streets of London in search of tidbits for his diary.

When I got back to the house, I did something I have been telling myself I needed to do for years. The house has two balconies that look out on the street. Because they are gated and locked, I have spent very little time on them.

Today, I unlocked the gates, brewed up a pot of green tea, dragged the chair and table out of their hurricane hiding place, and set up Mexpatriate on the cusp between my house sanctuary and the wilds of the village. 

I am not a very good relaxer. I like to have projects. To be doing something. Thus the long list of things I set each day for myself. The newspaper. My magazines. Researching. Writing. Cooking. My Spanish lesson. Tidying up the patio. Walking.

I enjoy all of them. But I know why they are on my "get it done or you are going to feel a failure" list. I just need to keep moving.

The electricity failure, having broken what would be my usual routine (a routine that relies heavily upon charged batteries), has given me an opportunity for one brief magical moment to reach out in my day -- and just rest. To prop my feet up on the edge of the balcony, sip my tea, and do -- nothing. Not even really think.

And, just as soon as I get this missive off to you, that is exactly what I am going to do.

By the way, the electricity was restored about an hour ago. But I am going to ignore it for the moment. I was patient waiting for its return. I can be just as patient waiting to use it. Mexico continues to add more virtues to quiver.   

No comments: