Blackout

Preamble (written weeks later):

Has anyone else heard the phrase “first-world problems”? It exists to describe the trivial problems people in the developed world encounter, such as a phone being an older model, or not knowing whether to choose between lamb and beef at a meal. Things like that that don’t even hit the radar of people living in a developing nation, struggling to go to school and eat once a day whilst working a full-time job for $1 a day.

Well, here’s my “first-world problem”, and I don’t think it should be. Because, you know, I do live in the first world. I live in an incredibly rich nation which is at the cutting edge of technology and highly-ranked worldwide in wages and education.

Why, then, is my “first-world problem” something that sounds like it should be part of the life of my friend’s great-aunt living in rural Zimbabwe? Four days or a week without electricity, water, sewage, or telephones sounds like something one should experience under Taliban occupation or Nazi blitz, not in peaceful modern Australia.

Update, 01.01.2017: There are still several hundred houses, primarily in the Adelaide Hills as well as in Onkaparinga, which went into the New Year without power, #90hoursandcounting

Update, 10.01.2017: There are still some towns in the Adelaide Hills which remain without power, #2weeksandcounting, #330hoursandcountingHello! Is there anyone out there?

Hello! Is there anyone out there?

“Where have you been?” You might ask me.

Well, I’ve been right here. Yes, it’s true that I haven’t posted anything in quite a while. Well, I’ve been very busy. But I’m posting something now, because, while I’ve been here, I’ve had no electricity.

For forty-three and a half hours.

That’s right, almost two full days.

And ordinarily I wouldn’t mention it on my blog – after all, I didn’t mention it when we had no electricity for around thirty hours, a few months ago – except that it seems that no-one noticed it this time.

At least, last time, the other states were looking at us and going, “Backward hellhole. Can’t even get electricity. The scandal!”

This time, the three suburbs of Adelaide that still had power had no idea that the rest of the state was without. We know this, because after the food in the house went off, we went and ate out, and no-one we mentioned it to had any idea. And also because we listened to a couple of radio newses, and it wasn’t mentioned there at all, either.

So I feel like I should let someone know. Or everyone. Or something.

Because, forty-four hours. No electricity. In the middle of summer.

At least when it happened in winter, it was cold enough that the food didn’t go off.

And yes, it was cool, only around thirty degrees, but that’s twenty-five degrees too high for the fridge (we lost everything, included the lamb and duck carcasses from Christmas which were due to be turned into stock yesterday), much too high for the freezer (we lost a lot), and eight degrees too low for the incubator (they’re ALL DEAD).

It’s not that we can’t live without electricity. I mean, people did it for thousands of years. Some people still do it. But, you know, with a few days’ warning, so we can set up a Coolgardie for the food, and make sure we have gas for the camping stove…

… And to fill up the bath and every other available container with water.

Because, that’s right. We’re on rain water, with an electric pump. If we have no electricity, we have no water. No taps. No showers. Nothing.

No telephones. No way of contacting anyone.

So that’s where I’ve been.

That’s where most of South Australia’s been for the last two days.

And no-one knows about it.

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3 thoughts on “Blackout

  1. Jo Creek says:

    I knew about the blackout and how you were without power for longer than we were; in fact, we invited you and your mum to come to our house yesterday.
    For two days the Advertiser has devoted many pages to the storm and the blackout. Facebook, too, has been full of posts about it.
    Perhaps other states have not been as aware, especially following the “statewide” power outage in September, but within SA there has definitely been concern, IMO.

    • Ruth Hay says:

      Because we had no internet or tv, we weren’t aware of any of this. It felt like no one cared, I think that is what Rachel was trying to say.

    • Rachel says:

      You were the only one.

      It wasn’t about “woe is me”. We coped well enough, and we couldn’t have done anything different. We couldn’t really have left, especially not all the way to your place (we have livestock).

      It’s more about awareness, because it’s barely making news interstate. Mum got a text from your other sister saying “I hope you’re enjoying the air conditioning” and Mum basically lost it because “We haven’t had electricity for two days!”

      It’s also because there are still more than 1600 houses without power, #80hoursandcounting.

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