For just one morning —just one— ol’Jack would like to shuffle out to the kitchen to start up the coffee maker and not have to reset the blinking clock on the stove. It seems that every morning, the digital clock is blinking 12:00; 12:00; 12:00, signifying that sometime during the night the electrical power has been off, for hours or minutes or just seconds.
It often goes out during the day as well. It wouldn’t be so bad if it only happened at night while my lovely wife, our dog Fluffy and I and the rest of the neighborhood are asleep because we might not even notice that the ceiling fans have stopped cooling the bedroom.
In today’s world no electricity means that most everything comes to a grinding halt. Sure, the computer I write my insightful articles on has a battery and I can keep writing for over an hour, but then I can’t submit my latest celebration of life in Panama because the WiFi is out. No emails, no Google, no nothing.
Naturally, the TV doesn’t work, so I’m stuck with having to read a book, which should be a good thing. However, I don’t read paper books anymore—I have a Kindle, which I was just about to charge when the power quit.
“So why don’t you call the electric company and complain,” you might say. Well, I have, unless my phone needs charging which also seems to happen when the juice ain’t flowing. It’s uncanny. A power outage is seldom convenient but, more often than not, it will come at a really shocking time, like when you’re watching the seventh game of the World Series or during final Jeopardy. My lovely wife, last year, had just put the Thanksgiving turkey into the oven, when we had a three-hour outage and guests arriving. Yes, we cook with gas but the temperature settings are digital. It makes me nostalgic for knobs.
While frequent interruptions to electric service happen everywhere in Panama, it’s worse in the interior. The problem, simply stated, is that the electric company was caught by surprise by the increase in demand. After all, how were they to anticipate that all those new beach communities complete with high-rise towers would be running air conditioners in a tropical zone?
Sitting out on the terrace in the dark listening to the geckos laughing from the shadows and watching the moon rise as the only source of light can be quite peaceful—unless it’s during Monday night football.