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Night terrors

February 14, 2011

So, Guam has a way of reminding you that electricity is a privilege, not a right. The other night, at one in the morning, I was awakened by a horrible, scary noise, like an air raid siren, but deeper. It was coming out of the clock radio, right next to my head, for no apparent reason. So John and I both jump up and he turns on the light and I furiously push all the buttons on the clock radio to make it stop. That failed, so I unplugged it, which required moving some furniture and damaging a finger.

Then we notice that the light is kind of creepy and dim and there’s another noise coming from downstairs, a beeping. The beeping is coming from the air conditioner, and all of the other electronics are also blinking and freaking out.

John says, “I think this is a brownout.” He tries to fiddle with the air conditioner, but its electrical line is outside (hiding behind some weeds), so he goes out there, leaving me alone in the living room to discover that the answering machine that we don’t use wants me to know that we have a message. I start pushing more buttons with no result and then it occurs to me: THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS IN THE MOVIES BEFORE THE ALIENS COME AND EAT EVERYONE EXCEPT TOM CRUISE AND HIS FAMILY.

The beeping stopped and I asked John to please come inside before our new alien overlords saw him. Eventually, the power just went all the way out, which was really better.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. David Adams permalink
    February 15, 2011 1:19 am

    Brilliant! (I giggled into my coffee. That felt very good.)

  2. Pamela permalink
    February 15, 2011 10:33 am

    I remember one we had home from college one summer, the microwave started sparking, it was a built-in and we thought it was going to catch cabinets on fire, but how do you safely reach back and unplug it? Then we had brown-outs before we had the rolling black-outs a few years ago (and my microwaves will be on easily reachable surge protectors), the sound the new fridge made was eerie, I thought I’d go insane while I figured out how to roll it out and unplug it with coated BBQ tongs. When we moved here now 8 years ago and discovered that cars go careening into some electrical cabinet at Meridian & Hamilton somewhat frequently causing brown-outs, everything in the house went on surge protectors so they go quiet immediately. The computer battery back-ups, however, still make me jump out of my skin faster than a fire alarm with their ‘eeeeeeeee’ squeal.

    I’m glad you were not eaten by aliens. I hope though, if you have computers plugged in at night/when you are away, they are on surge protectors, as they are can easily fry themselves and proceed to behave like aliens. And you have no Frys in Guam, I don’t think.

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