6 positive things to do during load shedding

2015-06-02 14:30

Koos Kombuis 

When my family and I were recently stranded at night in a darkened house for what seemed like the umpteenth time, I sat down and compiled, by the light of a lone candle, a list of things to do during the long, tedious hours of load shedding.

Halfway through the list, I realised that some of my ideas may not be as clever as I thought at first.

Playing darts in the dark, for instance, is a no-no. Little children might get hurt! Even if you did it my way, by only counting direct hits the board instead of adding up the little numbers, it’s still a dangerous pastime!

After deep moral scrutiny, I scratched out yet another item from my list. It may NOT be a good idea to light a candle on the porch and try hitting moths with your electric racket! What if the racket caught fire? And, anyway, it's kind of cruel towards the moths, isn’t it? Even if those moths were on their merry way towards certain death in the flame of the candle anyway. The idea just does not feel right. Moreover, it would send out the wrong message to other, nice insects, such as butterflies, ladybirds, etc, etc.

There are some people I know who spend the entire period of darkness during shedding frantically interacting with their smart phones, consulting load shedding schedules, etc. Why do they engage in this futile behaviour? They won’t find any solace there, even if they are lucky enough to find the Eskom website. In the end, these people just end up with a massive phone bill and a flat battery. And I know from experience that the more time you spend trying to figure out Eskom's website, the more depressed you feel! Do that for long enough, and you might just end up slicing your wrists with the bread knife or commit a family murder! STAY AWAY FROM THE INTERNET during load shedding! It is counter-productive and it does nothing to build morale.

Yes, that first list was really stupid. In the end, I threw it away and started a new list of POSITIVE things to do during load shedding. Would you like me to type it out for you? I will try, even though my ugly scrawl is hard to decipher… not to mention all the wine and coffee stains… okay, here goes!

ONE. Braai. Because it's enjoyable. Because it's a family activity. And, of course, it's therapeutic to sit by the fire with a glass of red wine.

TWO. Maybe you're a vegetarian. It's not an excuse! You can STILL braai! Braai mielies or something! Or put marshmallows on sticks and eat it! (As far as I know, Tim Noakes never specifically said anything against marshmallows on sticks, did he?) And, in case you’re not an alcohol drinker or don’t like the taste of red wine, drink COFFEE! Here’s a secret: water boiled in an open flame or on a gas stove makes better-tasting coffee than water boiled in an electric kettle. Try it!

THREE. If the weather is not right for braaiing, and you do not have the facilities to braai in your kitchen, make a fire in the fireplace! (Here's a hint: You can save money by starting your fire with paper instead of the lighter-things you buy in the store. If you run out of old newspapers, use your old water- and electricity bills, they work just as well!)

FOUR. Invite a few friends over and sing old Beatles songs together. Try it, it’s fun! You will actually be sorry when load shedding is over!

FIVE. If you are alone, try reading a book by candlelight. But not just any book! Something that suits the atmosphere. Something that can make you reminisce about he good old days when electricity was just as scarce as today. If you can understand Afrikaans, I recommend the classics by Leipoldt or Langenhoven.

There was wonderful poetry in those days, poetry that rhymed! And there were stories like Loeloeraai! A really good book can really enhance the mood!

SIX. Best of all, write your own poem. If you are not a good poet, do as I do and write a crappy song! Or even two or three! (If you can not think of your own words, just take a song you already know and see if you can improve the words.)

PS: Here is an example of such a song I wrote by candlelight. Yes, you guessed it! It happened during one of our Beatles-singing get-togethers...

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