Brownout!

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By Nina S. Custodio

Doc@XXLarge

Saturday, May 10, 2014


I WISH I had nice things to say about the rotational brownout..but I don’t. Hmm. Actually, what nice is there to say about power outages anyway? Once or twice in a month for a few minutes to an hour is acceptable but to have it everyday and for soooooo long is another story. You would be living under a rock if the brownouts do not affect you in any way.

I was trying hard to think about good things that can be had during brownouts but I really came up with nothing. After all, how can you feel good about something that wakes you up at night sweating like a pig in complete darkness as well as huddled in a corner fanning yourself at the workplace?

Arrgh! I keep thinking about how the small businesses can survive it. It is just plain awful. Each day, since the brownout started, there has been a growing discontent about how uncomfortable the brownout is and how it is detrimental not only to the Davao businesses but also to the families that have children too young to understand why it was so darn hot they could not sleep!

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I remember time I was so smug about the fact that we never have brownouts in Davao City. Even if we did, it hardly lasts more than an hour! It is the same smugness I had way back when I would brag to my friends from Manila that Davao is never weathered by storms.

Pffft.Tagam. Now in this age of internet, we have both. And flooding. And traffic. Tsk. My friends are all gloating over the fact that Davao has been pushed towards most storm paths. I am having throwback moments from my brownout experiences in the 1990s in Manila when the brownouts were crazy, lasting longer than twelve hours and at very inconvenient times.

As if the brownouts were not enough, now, there are water interruptions too!! Anobaaaaa!!! We have suddenly gone back to the dark ages!! It is just too painful to just go through the day sweaty and smelly with piles of dirty dishes waiting to be washed as soon as the water starts flowing through the pipes again! In the darkness and in my sweaty clothes, I grapple with the fact that we do not have water AND electricity. Last time I checked, Lent ended almost a month ago. Diyosmio! I figured that I would choose water over electricity any time BUT if I could have both, I want both!

I have to smile and shake my head when I think about friends and family who groan and murmur expletives realizing that they are going to miss the highlights of The Legal Wife and will have to contend with learning what happened between Monica, Nicole and Adrian from friends who had electricity on during the timeslot!

Oh yeah. You know who you are guys and I don’t blame you! These brownouts have put a damper on our daily routines, including our nightly television watching schedules! People with mobile phones with television have suddenly become hugely popular! They have become magnets to those who cannot live without an episode of The Legal Wife. Hehehe.

It is a good thing that school is out and we don’t really have to worry about school stuff. Most of the kids are out enjoying their vacation, doing summery things like spending time at the beach or joining sports clinics, painting, travelling or just hanging around with cousins and friends. But well, it is summer!

It is HOT and the electricity makes it even hotter in the most unsexiest way!! The weather has gone crazy the past few years that I am seriously urging you to take the effects of global warming seriously and try to do your share in preventing it from getting worse! We may not be emitting as much greenhouse gases as China, USA or Japan but we also need to be responsible for what we put out in our environment because we only have one world we call home. It is about time that we do a bit of reading about what global warming really is and try to figure out how we can contribute to decrease carbon footprints in our own humble way.

There has been a lot of speculation about how long this nightmare is going to last. I've seen the DLPC schedules posted on my FB too many times and wonder why there are times when I wonder if I am looking at the wrong schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the heads up but most of the time the brownout still comes as a total surprise because it does not jive with the announced schedule. Am I alone in this experience? Hmm.

Right now, I am pretty sure that the stores have ran out of rechargeable lights, rechargeable lights with fans, solar powered light sources and the generators are selling like hotcakes to those who can afford to buy them. People are buying candles, mosquito repellant and whatever else is there to make the brownout experience less horrifying. We do what we need to do just to make things comfortable.

At this point in time we can complain all we want and be furious at the ‘powers that be’ all that we want but the outages will still be there. (Groan.) We need to find some source of saving grace from all these. Redeem our positivity from this negative experience that is causing so much apprehension and angst among the Davao populace. So, help us all.

In the mean time, go ahead. Charge your rechargeable arsenal of things. Make sure that your pails are full and that you have enough ice to keep your cool. Cook food that won’t perish in the heat. Be inventive in keeping the young ones happy and entertained. This is the time for CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION! Spend some real bonding time with family and friends doing old world things--like talking not texting; playing old school games not video/tablet games. Cook the way your moms or grandmothers did--no rice cooker or microwave. This is the ultimate throwback activity! You don’t only get to reminisce how things could have been in the olden times, you actually get to LIVE it. Years (gulp) from now when the brownouts are a thing of the past, you will look back at this time and actually smile!

Happy Sunday Everyone!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 11, 2014.

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