In the middle of the night last Friday, the power went off. The luminous numbers on my clock radio disappeared, the flashing lights from the modem and internet connector boxes stopped and our house was in darkness.
I checked the circuitry as I’d seen my husband do two days earlier when the same thing happened, only that time we were awake.
The same faulty section of the fuse box, the same disrupted circuit, which meant at least that electricity to the kitchen fridge and freezer stayed on.
In the morning, we began the slow process of switching off all appliances, pulling out plugs to find the culprit.
With no success.
Hopefully tomorrow, my nephew an electrician, might arrive with his tool bag and fix the problem.
In the meantime, we have extension leads running up and down the hallway attaching to the various computers we use in this part of the house.
This way at least, despite the partial power outage, we remain connected.
A day without internet is hard enough. A day without a computer is ten times worse.
Almost as bad as the endless days ahead where we find ourselves confined to home. Though occasional walks for exercise are still allowed.
Is this practice for old age?
My mother in her final years spent almost every hour in her small room in the retirement village where she lived out the last fifteen years of her life.
In the early days, when she occupied a small semi-detached unit, a one-bedroom brick veneered box, set among fifty or other similar boxes, she went out regularly for shopping, to visit friends, and to join social functions at the centre.
After she hit ninety and began to slow down, she abandoned her mechanised travel chair and resorted to the dreaded four-prong stick to stagger along the corridors of her retirement village, back and forth from her single room for lunch and dinner and occasionally to see the local doctor who came into the retirement complex every week.
My mother claimed to enjoy this life. She enjoyed the view from her chair onto a small courtyard lush with rose bushes and plum trees.
In spring, a mother duck and her several babies took up residence in the courtyard year after year and the staff obliged by putting out one of those shell shaped blue children’s wading pools to give the illusion of a pond.
The ducks took it in turns to swim around the narrow perimeter and in time the concrete on which the pool rested grew white with their droppings.
My mother loved these ducks. The way they signified the passage of the seasons, cocooned inside her little room, surrounded by the memorabilia of her life.
I thought of her again this morning when I began to consider the slowing down of old age, not that I’m there yet, not slowed down that is, despite my years.
This virus that coats our every thought gives rise to grim thoughts on the possibility of an earlier death, our own or that of others.
It is as if no other form of dying exists.
We read the newspapers and when we learn yet another celebrity or dignitary has died, the first thought to come to mind: Did the virus take them?
Beyond the thoughts, we enter into survival mode. One day at a time. One week at a time.
And look forward to the other side, that foreign country, a future without the virus.