Let there be light…and there was no CUC


Welcome to Saipan…bring your flashlights.

 9:20 p.m. I have an hour and 40 minutes before the lights will go out (again? Yes, again and again and again!) and I will have to grope my way around to my bed and summon all my forces to fall asleep. 2 a.m. is a long way off and If you are a nocturnal being like me, you could understand the torture I go through every night. Or until the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. change the schedule next week.

I mean power outages is nothing new in this island. We have tasted power outages at all shifts but this 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. has been my biggest problem so far. It leaves me with no choice but to grope my way toward the bed guided only by the blurry light from my cellphone.

I prefer the darkness of my room because I can not bear to light a candle. It’s been over three months since I suffered the biggest blow in my life but I can’t even look at a lighted candle without breaking down. It just digs up the pain that I had been bottling and forcing to bury inside me. Enough about the subject of candles, tears are threatening to fall.

 The continued power outages on Saipan is nothing new and everybody’s suffering from it. Since my two housemates left, I have learned to monitor the load shedding schedule CUC publishes in the paper every Friday. I mean it’s actually useless because CUC never follows its load shedding schedule anyway. The power just goes off anytime.

I was rushing toward the Attorney General’s Office after a press conference at the public safety on Thursday, skirting the puddles of water on the way, but with three minutes left to be on time for an interview with Atty. Ed Buckingham, I was not successful in totally preventing the heels of my sandals from sinking in the muddy portions. I was directed to go straight to a room where Atty. Ed was waiting, and had to hesitate in the doorway.

 The room was engulfed in darkness and I was sure I had come to a closet or a darkroom. I was about to back out when a figure turned around. Atty. Ed was working on his laptop using miner’s flashlight attached to his forehead. What a way to work. At the Justice building on Monday, court proceedings were suspended and the hallways were filled with a mix of lawyers, clients and court staff fanning themselves to survive the heat. The court needs at least 50 gallons of gas an hour for the generators to run and the court’s dwindling budget can’t afford to pay for gasoline.
Oppsss, gotta grab some dinner before the lights go out. I don’t fancy groping my way in the kitchen. I’ve got a flashlight bought for $1 at a garage but I have to buy batteries yet.

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