Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Black out

It's been a few days now that our power company has gone on strike to force the goverment's hand for something or other.
That means we are experiencing rolling black outs. Today, just as I had put the boys to bed and I was getting ready to work, out goes our power.
With a sigh, I got up and got my flash light, then fished out the candles and lamps I had gotten in the last few days "just in case", said to those who said "but the strike will be over tomorrow". Today they decided to go until Sunday.

I put a lamp (battery operated, no flame) in the boys' room so they wouldn't panic in case they woke up in total darkness, and I lit candles all over the living room after failing miserably to get my other lamp to work. Just as well because as soon as the power was back on I saw it had an oil leak and we would have gone up in flames if I had managed to light it! (always trust your nose! it was the smell after I had capped the bottle that made suspect something was off and stopped trying to light it!)

I sat on the balcony looking at the street below, pitch black and all and waiting for George to come home.
There is a strange feeling of liberation coming from the knowledge that even though you have a ton of work to do, you just can't do it. It's not because you are lazy... it's because it's impossible.
This is a feeling that only those who work from home can relate to. When you are an employee, you leave work and that's it. You can really get home and relax because your work is back there, at the office... once you open the door to your house after work that's it...
But not in my case. Work is always there... everywhere. And there is always work to be done, mails to be answered, photos to be taken, sculpting to be done, orders filled. And it has taken it's toll... but on the other hand, as much as I would to rest, I can't. The financial demands are enormous for us right now.. the mortgage, the nanny's salary, John's medical bills; the cost of living in Athens, Greece alone is enormous... so I work day in day out... I work when I am well and I work when I am sick... I work when my wrists hurt and I work when I feel fine. I really wish I got a big lump of money all at once at some point just so I could take a break for a month... I wish!
But for those three hours the black out lasted, I was really FREE...

So I sat on the balcony looking at the dark street below and listening to the muted conversations of the people around me, in the same situation, as they sat in their balconies discussing this and that. Some smoked. I could see the tiny orange balls of flames that were seen from their cigarates in the dark. The night was pleasantly chilly but not cold.
I live downtown in one of the poorer neighborhoods that just now is trying to upgrade itself. Our building is new, built just 5 years ago, modern and pearly white, it sits amongst older, run buildings that will await their turn to be demolished and re-built. There are a lot of emigrants in this part of town because rent used to be so cheap but the introduction of the metro and its close proximity to my place, really shot the prices up.
If you are in the US, imagine my neighborhood like Brooklyn... or Chicago maybe.

When George did arrive, carrying take out, I tied a flashlight onto a string and lowered it to him so he could see to climb the stairs. Just we were getting ready to eat though, the power came back on and my romantic idea of just the two of us sipping wine and chatting in the semi-dark went bye bye... with a resigned sigh, I got to work... but it was fun while it lasted!

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