Mathias Antonsson

Random subjective observations of what's on my mind

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Danger! High Voltage

Chernobyl is offline. You might think of its Soviet/Ukrainian precursor, but it’s actually what a friend of mine “lovingly” calls my laptop. He calls it so because it’s big, rather noisy and has a tendency to overheat. Well, this Sunday I had a power surge in the apartment and the power adapter blew up. The causality cycle complete, his statement towers untouchable in its sheer accuracy.


Chernobyl Nuclear Facility

Chernobyl might be short on power and down for the count, but with a new power cord/adapter, it will make a full recovery. The same cannot be said for my phone which the over-voltage surge disposed of properly; all resurrection attempts proving futile.

Mammon demands his tribute. Eager to obey the modern god of choice, I ventured to the local mall. Without any price tags the cost proved steep (ghali sana sana), surely exacerbated due to my particular complexion. The price proving a minor issue in the larger scheme of things, as the power adapter was broken.

In the next store visited, a nice Indian man – huge Indian community here – was willing to help, if it weren’t for the minor detail that his shop had closed for the day. My interpretation of the shop as open for business, by me having entered through its doors and having talked to the on-site staff, proving profusely misguided. He generously offered to take a deposit for the power adapter, which he did have in stock, so that it would still be in stock by tomorrow morning. An offer too good to refuse you say? The demand on power adapters only being matched by the greed on Wall Street and all that. Well, call me a daredevil, but I’m betting it’ll be there in the morning anyway.

And as I remain behind a veil of ignorance in regards to receiving a work phone or not here I am, four days in, without my computer or a phone. A few weeks ago that would have set me off.

I am a person, who can handle pretty much any level of stress rather well, but you switch off my internet and I’m sharpening my pitchfork.

Kenya is making me adapt to a new reality. I “watched” the already legendary Sweden comeback against Germany (4-0 turned 4-4 in 30 minutes) on a 175kb stream. Pixels with audio were all I got. I tested my internet connection yesterday; 0.14Mb down, 0.24Mb up. For the non-technical reader, remember that old screeching modem that’d go offline as soon as someone tried to make a phone call killing your 25 minute download attempt of that one singular mp3 file? Well, that modem was faster. Way faster.

To put this in context I’m the spoiled one here. I (can sometimes) access the internet. The apartment complex I stay at has backup generators. Most are completely excluded from the knowledge society (and entertainment) we take for granted. Power is still far from a given. Especially on Sundays, that electrical grid repair day of choice.

Unlike me though, most have a phone.

So as I’m battling withdrawal – and buy books – spend a moment considering just how lucky you are. Because simply by reading this, most likely you won the lottery. The one we rarely discuss, the birthing lottery. Enjoy your spoils.



PS. Speaking of Chernobyl and having internet access, here’s a real treat for the interested one: