It’s funny how a blackout brings the community together…

From about 7.20pm to 12.30am we experienced a blackout, it had started at around about 5pm for most people but it seems we were lucky. I was sitting back playing Xbox 360 and a neighbor came over complaining that her power was out, her complaining was no oddity but she had asked to use our phone to call the energy company and have somebody sent out to deal with the problem. I stayed indoors away from her tedious conversation and played my Xbox 360 with no issues at all proceeding to ignore her in the hope that she would go away while my sisters brain was being fried by the endless stream of crap flowing freely from her mouth. She eventually went away and a short while after this our power went out completely.

It’s funny how when your television goes out you don’t really care, when your phone goes out it is a minor inconvenience but when your Internet goes out shit gets real. Suddenly you’re cut off from the world, this wouldn’t usually be an issue for me. I could read a book but the power was out completely and reading by candle light, though romantic, is not my thing. To make matters worse our cooker is electric so dinner is off the table. Waiting for pay day we have little money available to just go buy food but a freezer full of defrosting food that we can’t even cook. Couldn’t even pass the time with a beer or two. I listened to the neighbors talking back and forth about the electric company’s time estimates and when their power went out. The Energy company had drove out to survey the damage then left promptly.

Realizing how royally fucked I was I went into the garden to talk to my mother, her colleague and my sister who was laying on the granite paving reading. She’s a strange child. After talking with them for a while, here is where it gets interesting, I went out to the shops to go get a load of fries and cheap food for us to eat. On my journey I came across a group of neighbors discussing what went on and how they’ve got no power, the woman who usually bores me with conversation and never lets me leave decided to stop me. The group began talking about the Polish people living across the street and maintained that it was their fault for messing with the wiring, probably because they’ve been working on their house a lot.

They burn things in their back garden, I can understand that, It’d bother me more if I lived next door but I don’t so I don’t really care. They also work on the house pretty early and drill but it doesn’t warrant accusing them of destroying the power lines. People got into their little groups and it sounded like they were planning a lynching moaning that even if they did do it they wouldn’t have to pay because they’re Polish. They annoyed me by this point, especially considering they had no proof at all. The Energy company said the rains caused the wires to be surrounded by sludge contributing to them warming up and melting, also sending charge back to the house of the Polish people. At this point I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted a cup of tea, that was the number one complaint, people couldn’t make any tea. A decent neighbor made us a few cups which passed the time.

They spoke of a black puff of smoke had apparently from over in that direction and the power going out, it fried the Polish people’s electric mains control panel costing them around £300. After hearing these people talk shit about their neighbors for 15 minutes I left walking past the Electric company’s worker who was sipping tea, sitting on his ass waiting for them to dig up the cables. We were originally given an estimate of 3 to 4 hours, it took all in all around about 7. Anyway, I got retrieve what I laughably considered a meal. On the way up there I noticed that half of the block had lost power, with the other lamps around it all being on our area looked like the twilight zone. I hit home, go my food on a plate and sat outside to eat in the summer evening only to move back inside after being accosted by mosquitoes and being bitten 8 times.

The night kept getting better and better. I kept getting more and more bored until I saw two associates of mine outside talking, so I head on out to join them. Anything is better than being stuck inside with no power at all. We sat and talked outside for a while smoking cigarettes and commiserating about how our local area is dead and nobody comes around any more, it was at least bearable conversation. I think I had started to get used to the power outage. We also shared stories of what we were doing when the power went out which was okay. We began planning going on a little trip because one of my friends had to pick something up from his cousin’s place. We never ended up going though.

We thought of parting ways but for some reason ended up staying, talking some more and ripping on my friends mother for talking to everyone about everything for so long and how you can never get away from her. Yes the tediously boring lady is my friend’s mother. Eventually we headed down the bottom of the cul-de-sac to find his mother talking the workmen to death. They had been trying to get at the wires for about 3 hours now. In the middle of us talking a guy who used to be my best friend in childhood showed up, he lives across the street, joining into our conversation. He is a complete fucking stereotypical white English male, trying to hard to be a geezer. It hurts to listen to his bullshit sometimes. I have no problem with the guy other than the fact that he’s always trying way too hard. I mostly switch off and pretend to listen to him.

Me and this guy are discussing things from out childhood, my other friend is loud and talking to everyone as usual but if it shuts my old best friend up then I’m thankful for it. About 30 minutes later our lovely new Irish neighbor comes in, some how, suddenly every body becomes a racist. The friend with the annoying mother got bored and left. Come to think of it I should have done the same. I stayed to listen to them ranting about Africans and Pakistani’s being disgusting, rude, obnoxious and such. Sometimes they can be all of those things but that’s individual and you cannot generalize like that because they’re black or brown or whatever. That is when it gets stupid.

The guy who is trying too hard is in a rant about Pakistani’s when my friend brings up that his sister is dating one, he was being racist but I have to say listening to this guy’s story about how her dad said she’d shame the family was funny, here he is justifying himself to everyone in the group who have just spent the last 40 minutes making racist comments suprisingly without using the words nigger or paki. How they turk der jurbs and such. They finally get off of the subject of racism. The Irish guy goes away and I’m still listening to this guy trying too hard and about how his sister stopped eating pork because of her Muslim boyfriend. I could stop eating roast pork but never sausage and bacon, then I’d be screwed. Sure it is silly she stopped eating it because of him but it is her choice and I’m not even going to weigh in a well though out opinion with these idiots.

After four and a half hours of drilling the finally got into the cables and began a repair. After about another hour of listening to the guy trying to hard and my friend going back and forth about nothing, male posturing and all that bullshit a guy came around the corner and went into a large, green doored, electric room on our street, the light was put on in there and then 30 minutes later there was a flash that seemed to fill the street. The power had come back on and within seconds lights came on and various electric devices started making sounds. It all seemed so strange. Finally Captain try to hard went straight in as soon as the power went on, my friend went in too. It was like the whole evening had never happened, everyone back in their forts and not talking to each other again. Community spirit is non-existent in the shitty suburb of London in which I live.

I realized why I don’t and will not talk to my neighbors, they’re shallow, racist, boring, trying to hard, complaining bullshit wastes of time and energy. Next time we have a black out I’m staying indoors. I understand they’re pissed off with the habits of our foreign neighbors but their racism is pretty unfounded. It’s been about 30 hours since the blackout and I haven’t seen a single neighbor. Everything is back to normal and probably for the better. I can take them for who they are good or bad but I could never spend any extended period of time with them. The community was brought together by a blackout only for me to realize I really want nothing to do with them at all. I regret that I never took any pictures to be honest, I dislike my neighbors even more now.

I’m thankful this isn’t going to be a common occurrence.


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