We had a 7-hour power outage the other evening due to a bad storm, which is pretty unusual for Toronto.
In the late 90s in Baku power cuts were a regular event, usually lasting several hours and sometimes days. Coupled with daily water cuts, it made life rather complicated, but you learned to cope. We had several large rechargeable lanterns, a battery radio, a gas stove for cooking and a gas fireplace for heat. But our real savior was the Magic Socket.
We discovered it soon after arriving. Our washer and dryer were located in the bathroom of our apartment and mysteriously when the power went out the washing machine continued to work. Vitaly, the electrician, discovered a wire snaking its way out of the kitchen window and down the back of the building, and came to the conclusion that the socket was hot-wired to the street lights. As the streetlights usually stayed on when our building lost power, we were golden.
From then on, whenever the power went out, we’d connect several extension cords in sequence and move this magical source of power around the apartment as and when needed. In the morning it would be in the kitchen so we could run the coffee maker and then the toaster. Then it would move to the bedroom so I could dry my hair. When everyone had left for work and school, I fired up the computer to check my email. Whenever it wasn’t in use elsewhere we’d plug in the freezer. If you think several extension cords plugged together sounds like a dangerous arrangement, you’re right. But we were already living with cars without seatbelts and a leaky gas stove; dodgy wiring didn’t seem so bad.
So the other night as we scrambled in the dark looking for candles and a flashlight with a working battery, I realized how unprepared we are for a power cuts here in Canada compared with when we lived in Baku. And I missed my Magic Socket.