Who turned out the lights?

Bridie O’Shea lives without power for 48 hours … and vows never to take electricity for granted again. Ever.


I had never given thought to how much I love electricity. Really. It isn’t something you think about. I don’t wake up each morning and say “man, I love you electricity. Thanks for keeping my life on track. Without you, I’d be a blubbering mess rocking in the corner of my dark room in foetal position”.

But after my mistake of not praying to the electricity gods on that fateful Monday night of the recent storms- when the rain was pelting sideways and the wind was trying to break into my house- I woke up and went to charge my phone.

But it wouldn’t charge.


I went to turn my bedroom light on.


Double odd. The power must be out.

But that’s okay. You lose power for a few hours, just wait it out. No big deal, right?


Little was I to know, that this was the beginning of 48 hours without power in the O’Shea household. Let me give you a run down on how that played out (and the rapid decline in my sanity).


Stage One: The novelty phase.

Sure, cooking toast on a skewer over the gas burner is fun for the first two seconds until the family complain that it’s burnt. (Really though, what were they expecting when the toast was being COOKED OVER A FIRE.)

Uni got cancelled though: a plus. So with nowhere to go or anything to do, staying in my pyjamas to wait it out was a good idea. (At this stage I still thought the power would be back on in a few hours. Naïve, naïve Bridie.)


Stage Two: Boredom begins.

The novelty wore off very quickly: I actually wished that I had Uni work to do that didn’t require my laptop to pass the time. (Was I getting sick?) Decided to read a book and had to use my iPhone torch as a lamp. My eyesight will probably take revenge on me later in life for that bad choice.


Stage Three: New boredom level unlocked: EXTREME.

Book was finished in record time. Now what?

Tried playing with my dog. She wasn’t having any of it. She continued to lie in bed. Typical. Resorted to listening to the radio in the kitchen in the dark.

Mum came home from work early. I’d never been so happy to see another person in my life. Though I used up all my interesting conversation starters in the first few minutes.

Was it time for bed yet?


Stage Four: Regretting throwing out all of our board games.


7pm: that’s late enough to go to bed, right?


Stage Five: Realisation that we could be in this for the long haul.

Woke up Wednesday morning, hoping that life would be back to normal. No luck there. The day was basically a repeat of Tuesday: made my dog play with me, listened to the radio, sat and stared. Thank God it wasn’t Game of Thrones night. All hell would’ve broken loose if I missed that.

About 9pm the electricity gods (or Energy Australia) answered my prayers and the lights flashed back on. I squealed like a twelve-year-old at a One Direction concert. So did mum. And dad. We had survived! And did not hesitate to follow Homer Simpson’s wise words, “let us all bask in television’s warm, glowing, warming glow”.


But let’s be real…

I joke about how ‘hard’ it was living without power for two days, but really it was just an inconvenience (from intense boredom more than anything else). I’ve heard stories of so many others who dealt with so much worse than I did during those storms; I still had my health, my family and a roof over my head. And this just made me think of how much we take for granted. We’re so lucky that this is an abnormality for us here in Australia; that we can have light at night, we can cook meals and have hot showers and be entertained by television on a daily basis. There are so many others around the world that don’t have these privileges and it isn’t something that I will take for granted anymore.

Hopefully Mother Nature pulls herself together and we don’t have another storm like this for a very long time. But I’ll still be praying to the electricity gods each night … just in case.


Image: Jesús Corrius, Flickr, no changes made.


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