Sometimes it’s nice that the sound of the generators blots everything else out…street traffic, watermelon sellers, honking taxis looking for fares…
But usually it’s just a headache, and I feel a sense of lethargy overwhelm me. The power is out, it’s mid-afternoon, there is no breeze, the sun’s heat cuts through thin curtains… and the generators are coughing all along the street below. For the shops it’s worth their investment in a 300 shekel generator (plus the fuel to run it, which is not always cheap or available) to power their lighting, fan, computer, refrigerator…inside the noise is less intrusive, but outside it deafens. Then it’s not just one generator but an unending stream, if you are walking on a commercial street. Clouds of noxious gas, reminding me of motorboats at play on otherwise tranquil lakes, or snowmobiles barging through pristine forest trails. Never a pleasant smell, nor combined with the sound.
But what are people to do? Let their food spoil (most do… including us)? Close up shop? Swelter in the heat (most do… including us)?
So it’s always a moment akin to new year’s celebrations when the power returns. The hum of the fridge starts off, the din of the generators tapers off, and it’s back to regular street noise.
Tonight, dripping in the heat, waiting for 10 pm or 11 pm when the power might return, I couldn’t do much other than write down: sweltering, no energy, no water (stops with the power cuts often), can’t wash off the sweat, can’t cool down…falling into stupor.
A walk to the sea 10 minutes away helped. We sat, without tea, juice, snacks, just sitting in a light breeze (better than a stuffy room) to escape our oven apartment. Soft lights of fishing boats bobbed not far out at all (they’d do better many miles out but settle, because they are forced at Israeli gunpoint to do so, at under 3 miles)….and in contrast to Gaza’s dimly-spotted coast, the glare of Israeli lighting even over 15-20 kilometers away. Pretty good power supply there.
Soft lights and roar of at least 3 Israeli warplanes overhead.
Returned to the oven, power still out, lit the candle, feigned having enough energy to stay awake in case the power returned. Then the cheers go up (they actually really do) and the power trickles back on. Still waiting for the water…