Wednesday, August 21, 2013
“…what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.”
My electricity has gone out two or three times since July 30th. Thankfully, I wasn’t bothered by the power outages because I was either waking up, about to go to bed, or leaving my apartment. Once, I did walk from the 6th floor to the 15th floor because I was scared to continue riding in the elevator. My tired/lazy/foolish/practical behind got back in the elevator a few minutes later (and offered one up to a higher power all the way down).
But then yesterday the water went out.
And stuff started getting real.
I woke up in the middle of the night last night. When I went to flush the toilet I noticed the flush was very slow. I turned the tap. Nothing. Went to the kitchen and turned the tap. Nothing. I’m getting tired of saying how much I cry so I’ll pretend like I didn’t cry because I had procrastinated on buying more bottled water (but did have a trash can full of back up water) and skip right to the part where I journaled for an hour before falling asleep again.
When I got back up for work the water was on. Excitedly (and stupidly), I attempted to wash a load of laundry so it could hang dry while I was at work. I was greeted with a hell no. Really, I was greeted with brown murky water and sediment. Right—brown soot is what usually comes out of a spout when water has been off for a while. The way my washing machine looks right now will not be commemorated in a photo because I want to forget the image as soon as possible.
I took a quick shower in water that looked clear to me (without my glasses on) and had to keep it moving. The water went out sometime Tuesday after I left for work but, like I said, I didn’t even notice until Wednesday morning.
When I got home from work today I was greeted with this:
It’s the little things.
But, my job is still going well, the sun is still shining, I still have my health, my family, and my friends so I’ll be fine.
My bluntly honest, immigrant father did warn me when I decided to move to Venezuela.
And I quote: “You don’t know what struggle is. You don’t know what it’s like for them to take light and you don’t know when it’s coming back. You don’t know what it’s like to have to take bucket baths because there’s no water. You don’t know about rolling blackouts. You don’t know.”
I was hurt, but I couldn’t be mad. He was telling the truth. Coming from an extremely well-developed country to a developing country is a lesson in change. Coming from five years of living in hyper-segregated New York City (don’t let them fool you…the city’s diverse…and segregated) to being the brownest face for miles is a change. Having people look at me and stare when I speak English in public because my native language is now the foreign language is a change. Attempting to cram all the things I need to do online at work because I still don’t have permanent internet installed in my apartment (and there’s not a projected installation date) is a change. Having to struggle to open a water container so I can drink when I’m thirsty is a change. Handling new currency, and having to change currency sooner than expected because inflation started skyrocketing before I came and continues to climb while I’m here is a change. Not being able to verbally express myself easily and quickly is a change.
My new best friend.