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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I Want More Power... Any Power

One of the things I hated about my apartment in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan was something I wish happened nowadays in Toronto.

Sort of.

In my apartment, my refrigerator was always running. Which was why it was in such great shape.

The heater/AC unit was not on all the time, but it was in the dead of autumn, winter, spring and summer. Oh... you know what I mean... Ohtawara-shi was a city of some decent weather extremes.

I would always have the television on - even if it was for background noise while I was reading or writing.

Sometimes, I would even do the laundry... okay... I was a bit fanatical back in those days... I would do the laundry every other day... trying to wash the sex stains from the bedsheets... or really, just because I didn't want anyone coming over and thinking I was a slob... it's also why I vacuumed my apartment every day... the place was like a train station - which I didn't mind... a lonely guy enjoys the company.

But... on those many times I wanted to treat myself, I would microwave up a bag of popcorn... 23 years ago... I couldn't find microwave popcorn in Japan... even if it was staring at my in the face at the grocery store because oft times Japanese packaging makes little to no sense when it offers graphics that do not describe its inside product...

... fortunately, my mother would send bags of the stuff over to me on a monthly basis... so I could always have a whole bag of popcorn to myself... as we all know it that while it is indeed fun to share a bowl of popcorn, it is indeed much better to have one all to yourself.

So... with the fridge, heater, television, laundry and then the microwave all going, I could always expect the fuse to blow in my apartment.


Instant darkness.

Since the popcorn was the most important item... I would make sure I went and turned off the laundry... stumble back into the living room area, trip on a chair... yelp around on one foot for a while cursing in two or three languages... English, Japanese, and of course French... the only way I am bi is bilingual... being a good Canadian... I know all the swear words in French, and one or two lines to get my face slapped nine out of 10 times (that 10th time can indeed be magic!)...

Then when my foot would stop throbbing, I would pull a chair over - one different from the foot maimer - and climb atop it to find the fuse box... located seven feet up the wall... open it and flip the breaker... and... voila! Power.

These past few days in 2013 Toronto... thanks to what some are calling the worst ice storm in Toronto's recorded history (which I'm sure pales to the one in Quebec 15 years ago or so!)... the power went out.

No heat. No television, no internet... and thanks to digital wiring... no frigging telephone service.

So... we packed up the family on Sunday... and went to Grandma's house an hour's west in Guelph and spent the night... until we heard that the power came back on in our neighborhood.

So we came back... the house was indeed nice and warm, but horrors of horrors... there was no television service... no internet service... and no telephone service. I hate Rogers Communications simply because the phone is digital... and when one service goes down, they all do... I don't have a cell phone...

And... I really had no internet service... which is why... 21 hours late - but still on the 24th... I almost missed a day of blogging... Almost...

I also had to keep an eight-year-old slightly hyper-active boy occupied without television. Thank god for LEGO... thank god for some movies I had downloaded but not shown him before... and thank god the PS3 was still working...

I'm no longer a drinking man... I mean... I can... and will... but does six drinks in the year constitute someone who drinks? No.

Despite me moaning about how crappy the last few days were... I should point out that many people in Toronto are still without power... that means no heat... and many don't have any place warm to go out to.

Regardless of this... I just wanted to say... that in three years of living in Japan... the power never went out in my town... this tiny little podunk of a town... but here in Toronto... in 2013... twice now weather has beaten the crap out of us... what with flooding destroying some transformers... and now... an ice storm. That's twice in one year we've been kicked in the nuts leaving us writing for days.

Of course... it's not like we didn't have bad weather in Japan... a few earthquakes... five typhoons a year... but my power never went off - unless I got hungry for a personal sized (IE Family-size) bag of microwaved popcorn.

Cheers... and since it's already Christmas somewhere... Merry Christmas.

I will, of course, be back soon... weather permitting.

Stay warm.
Andrew Joseph

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