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Saturday, July 23, 2005


Last night, for the first time in 5 years, we experienced a blackout. We were having a late dinner - after streneous babysitting! (Gathered round the kitchen counter were my hubby, brother, both nieces, nephew, as well as my SIL and both BILs, who were here to pick up the kids), when all of a sudden all the lights, the TV, and the airconditioner went out. It took a second for anyone to react. My two year old niece started crying and that got everyone moving around in the dark. My hubby found the flashlight and I got out a couple of candles. My brother went outside and noticed that the houses on our side of the street had their lights out too. (So it wasn't just us - and certainly not because I had mailed this month's electric bill 2 days late!).

I got on the phone and called SoCal Edison and started talking to a very bored guy named Larry. I am sure Larry had better things to do on a Friday night that sit and wait for a call from someone like me. But I still think he could have handled the call better. Larry tells me that the power outage is not showing up on his screen. I assure him the problem is real. He then tells me he will call me back when the problem appears on his screen. So ... we ... wait...

As we wait, we all sit around and talk - and I mean really t-a-l-k (by the light of three candles). It's funny since most of us never really sit down and have long conversations anymore. There's always too many things going on. Tonight was a perfect example. Over dinner we had the tv going, the kids were running around from room to room so once in a while someone had to go get them, there was someone in the bathroom, someone on the phone, I was heating chicken wings on the microwave ... Too. Many. Things. Going. On.

I remember a few years ago when blackouts were very common in Manila. Every other week there would be a night when the power would go out and my family would all find ourselves in my parents' room. All 7 of us. We had 1 rechargable lamp that my dad would claim as he read his newspaper. Anyone else who needed the light would have to sit around his feet and share that lamp. My dad also had a small battery operated radio and we would listen to that as well. But the best part was how we would all lie down and spend "quality time". My sisters, brothers and I would invent silly trivia games to while away the time. We'd swap stories about what was going on with each of us. My mom and dad would regale us will "back-in-my-day" stories. Sometimes we would take out the Scrabble Board, or the Monopoly Board or the Boggle cube and play. Inevitably though when the power came on we'd all go back to what we were doing before that ... my brother would go watch tv, the twins would go do homework, I would get on the phone with friends, my older sister would go back online, my dad would read his paper and my mom would go back to reading or watching tv. We would be in different parts of the house. And as always, we'd have Too. Many. Things. Going. On.

I guess we all have too many things going on all the time. It's human nature. We invent things to save time, but end up using all that time we save doing more things. So we invent more time- saving measures and end up with less time than before. Vicious cycle. I think the moral here is we need a few more "blackouts" in life. It's times like these where we are forced to catch our breath and slow down. It's times like these where we actually have conversations and need to rely on ourselves to find ways to entertain us. Come to think of it, it could be what we really need. Imagine... NEWSFLASH: Nationwide Blackouts Cause A Surge in Family Bonding ..... (we may be on to something here).


jol said...

This is one calamity that brought the family together. An instance of God's infinite care.

I am sure it does happen to you too!

jml said...

jml said....

those were indeeed special family bonding moments. Your recollections bring back nostalgic memories.

jencc said...

Hi, Joanne! My mom sent me your site. I'll cross link you in mine. This blog brings back memories of the brownouts to me! In fact, a few weeks back, we've had two (to Paul's dismay...)! I've been telling him that he should be thankful...these things were usual in his Dad and Mom's day (man, are we THAT old??).