Second World Problems
Time management is its own thing here. This wasn’t the morning plan, but I suddenly realized now would be a good time to clean up the kitty litter kicked onto the carpet by the beloved fur kids. We are on city power—for now.
We were still on city power a half hour ago, but to be sure I cross the apartment, enter the guest room, step onto the back balcony and peer across the street to check for the little flood light on the third floor of our neighboring building. A lit bulb means that city power is off—and we are now on generator, which means most of our appliances—washer, water pump, A/C, etc. have to be quickly switched off if I don’t want to blow a fuse and trek four floors down to the basement electrical panel (our first year learning curve included a minimum of three basement treks per day). We always check the little next door flood light before turning anything big on, ‘cause you never really know when we will be on city power or not. There is a regular schedule for when we “should” have city power but, of course, as our local friends joke, “this is Lebanon.”
No bright flood light means I have enough power to vacuum, at least till noon if the power holds to its usual weekend schedule. While I’m at it, I flip the water pump on and toss a load of clothes in the washer—might as well Carpe moy (“seize the water”—I just made up a Latin/Arabic hybrid phrase).
My next step in vacuum prep is to unplug our 30 lb. black box power converter which is currently powering “MY PRECIOUS” (expresso machine) in the kitchen. This converter lets me use our US appliances (our big Christmas splurge last year was to buy this bad boy in the States—can’t get ‘em here—and pay an extra $200 to bring it back on the plane). I lug the converter across the apartment, plug everything in, and fire up the Bissel.
Kitty litter all swept up in about 20 seconds.
Well, at least we have city power part of the day.
That’s better than in Syria.
Here in Lebanon, because of the civil war two decades ago, public utilities were bombed so all buildings now are set up to run on their own private generators. The government provides power for about 6-8 hours a day, and the rest of our power needs we get from our generators.
The problem in Syria right now is that the government ran very well and things like education, medical care and utilities were very reliable. Cities and neighborhoods in Syria had no need to install large generators—until four years ago when the power grids were among the first things to get bombed. Everything now is powered by small portable generators, which run on (if you can get/afford it) degraded fuel. The smog from this degraded fuel fills up the homes and the cities and is creating major respiratory problems—especially for the children and the elderly.
So, I’m ok checking for the little flood light across the street and lugging my black box converter across the apartment.
It’s a second world problem. I can deal with it.