Loadshedding SA-style is like a deadbeat dad

loadshedding is like a deadbeat dad
loadshedding is like a deadbeat dad
Image: Eskom

The electricity crisis has cured my procrastination.

For over two decades one of my biggest flaws was leaving things to the last minute much to my mother's irritation. Ironing? Oh I can do that in the morning. Charging my phone? Oh I'll do it later. Cooking? I'm not hungry yet, I'll see later what I whip up in a couple of hours.

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Now I'm proud to say that I have left all of these bad habits in the past where they belong. In fact I've become so organised that I'm disappointed when there is no loadshedding. You mean to tell me that I charged all three of my power banks for nothing, charged my laptop and cooked for absolutely no reason? It's like preparing for the hunger games except no hunger ever comes.

The adrenaline of the lights going off and having an internal "yessssss!" because I'm smug and awfully proud that I will survive the next couple of hours because of my ingenuity is very satisfying.

Now when that loadshedding doesn't actually come I'm left not knowing what to do with myself because I have set up the next four hours with the knowledge that there will be no electricity.

On Monday afternoon I rushed home to prepare for Tuesday because stage 6 of loadshedding was announced. I quickly had dinner and laid out my clothes because I needed easy access to everything in case I woke up to darkness. See, I've decided that Eskom won't catch me lacking.

But the universe has a sense of humour; even though I had done all of this preparation for the much-dreaded never-before-seen level of loadshedding I didn't even lose one minute of power because of Eskom. My Type A personality is left highly confused when my plan is unusable. What do I do now with all of my LED lights and candles? I sometimes even schedule a nap to coincide with the expected period of loadshedding to make sure I'm awake when there is actually electricity.

Truthfully though, I hate loadshedding but my breaking point has to be when our apps can't even predict when it's coming anymore. How do we make contingency plans when Eskom itself doesn't even know when a crisis is going to hit?

A friend of mine who was born and raised in Zimbabwe once told me that in some areas they only get electricity overnight when everybody is asleep.

"What we do is put our phones on the chargers and when we wake up in the morning our phones are charged. Electricity in Zimbabwe is like Father Christmas," he said.

I laughed because I couldn't imagine only getting electricity for eight hours in a 24-hour cycle and only at night at that! But it looks like South Africa is heading straight in that direction.

As I was sitting on my bed waiting for the electricity to shut off I couldn't help but think that loadshedding is like a deadbeat father who lies to his children about when he's coming to town. Now here we are with our clothes laid out nicely and our dinners prepared, waiting for that visit that may or may not come. Very on brand for SA actually, or maybe I just have daddy issues that need to be sorted out. Dear Eskom, I know asking for you to lay off loadshedding will never happen, but can we at least have consistent visits so we can plan accordingly.

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