Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Drawback to Electricity

Electricity is great.  The world of night is lit up.  People can stay up and live like it is daytime.  People can be entertained by moving pictures and noise.  Students can do homework and books can be consumed.  We can have midnight feasts, do chores, and work till we drop from exhaustion.
In Africa, I learned the delights of sitting outside under the stars creating entertainment with friends and family under the moonlight.  I went to bed early and woke up early.  I found peace in the immense quiet of a world dead to technology.
At night, my Chinese apartment scares me silly.  Would I say that the scorpion carriers and the mice of Africa were bigger and scarier than those in my new Chengdu flat?  Humid wetness breeding wildlife- chunky spiders bigger than my hand, cute mice with long tails and plump furry bodies, and cockroaches not quite as gigantic as the ones in Africa.  Actually no.  It is not the creepy crawlies that scare me. 
I am afraid of the light.
I have lived with wildlife for years.  I slept outside in Africa and one might assume that by living in a flat, the living things would stay outside.  The problem is I am on the first floor and things can climb in through the screenless windows.  The only thing that is kept out is a robber, bars too narrow to crawl through.
In Africa, I went to bed early, listening to the mice checking out the shelves for food and fell asleep believing the comforting lie, "The mosquito net would keep out things with legs."  I was a peace with the living creatures in Africa.
On the other hand, in China the spiders and mice scare me.  In Africa I could pretend that the things unseen did not exist.  In China, as I lay in bed reading, I have the opportunity to watch a large spider crawl along the ceiling from one corner to the next hoping that as I fall asleep it won't crawl over my face.   As I go to the bathroom, flipping on the light, I try my best to stifle a scream as a mice scurries along the wall to the window praying it won't run over my feet.
In Africa, the creatures didn't exist.  In China they do.  Electricity feeds light bulbs and I see all that I am living with.

1 comment:

universalibrarian said...

Hello again, Nice writing. Glad to hear you are settling into your new situation some.
Have a good day,