Not Just For Christmas

We’d a power cut last week. Not one of those quick, light twitching, flickers which makes you think you’ve over done the gin. This was a proper one; lasting just over 36 hours. It started, according to various folk who were wandering around in the wee, smaa hours, with dramatic, green flashes over the Stewartry. Why were half the adults of this town meandering around their houses early on a cold, March morning? Is it the water?

Mind you, despite the length of time without power, I can’t complain. We’ve only had to munch our way through the contents of the freezer basket; everything else, down in the depths, was so immersed in permafrost, it remained rock solid. Stegasaurus sirloins and fillets of pterodactyl quite safe; or rather, a wheen of Madeiras and the last of this season’s pheasants. And one doesn’t need any light to read Braille! The junior cat did singe her tail as she weaved her way around the candles flickering in the hearth, but, despite a strong whiff of scorched hair, suffered no permanent damage!

And, of course, even as the sun rose on our second day without electricity, we knew that, eventually, the fridge would buzz back into life and The Archers would be supplanted by Coronation Street. Annoyances are much more tholable when you know they are temporary.

Unlike disabilities! Often I just want to shrug off my particular condition; hang it up like a wet jacket after Mr. Dog and I have returned from a particularly traumatic expedition. When the computer is having one of his tirrivees or I’ve dropped some small, footery object, I’ll screw up my eyes, blink, peer, half expecting everything to settle into sharp, exact focus. It doesn’t and it won’t. It just is. That’s part of the problem of developing a disability; it invades all aspects of one’s life. This must sound like a proclamation from the University of the Blooming Obvious but remarks from that amorphous blob known as the General Public certainly suggest that this will come as a bit of a shock. There have been innumerable situations when, once I’ve pointed out some difficulty, the comment is, “Oh, ah never thocht aboot that!”

Take moving around. Anyone who can’t see moves slowly. I’m sure there are exceptions; blinkies who charge around their garden and never trip, never stub a toe. Not me. If the phone rings while I’m hanging out the washing, then I’m thankful I’ve an answering machine. Or, since I’ve mentioned technology, what about the way so much equipment now involves peering at menus on a screen? All sorts; from the satellite telly to the bread maker. Design consultancies must be staffed by folk with perfect eyesight. Furthermore, they are on a mission to keep up the reading standards of the population by forcing everyone to read several lists before any household task can be accomplished. No thought is given to the considerable chunk with poor sight, arthritic fingers or those whose reading ability is so low it restricts them to the more lurid tabloids. Thank goodness there are also designers developing various techno gadgets, thus giving us the chance to cope with all that.

Aye well, maybe I’ve spent more time than usual recently, crawling around in search of an elusive ear ring butterfly which has fluttered from my fingers. Maybe I’ve had just too much of politicians pontificating about all of us on Incapacity Benefit who ought to be enjoying interesting, fulfilling employment. Or maybe it’s finally dawned that, unlike the power cut, a disability isn’t temporary.


© Charlotte Bennie 2010