Updated: Apr 12
As the sweltering heat of the late afternoon sun descended into the cramped apartment, Sans Amal looked at her phone helplessly. She sat hunched over in the antiqued wooden chair watching the countdown on her phone. She would always remember this countdown but wished she could forget it. Her face was stoic and cold, yet her eyes seemed to hold the weight of the world, her world. It was her eyes that would have to watch the clock. Watch the clock slowly tick in a way that seemed to bend time around it. Each tick sounded like an eternity, a pause where time seemed to get stuck just for a moment as if the clock hand was gathering the courage to move on to the next second. It was her eyes that would have to watch the time slowly tick away until the power was restored again, in another scheduled Community Climate Energy Effort. These 'efforts' were the community's scheduled time for mandated energy savings. Mandated energy savings or rolling brownouts were occurring more frequently this past week, which was making Sans moment her nightmare come true. In the past few days it had been sunny and hot, a typical summer day, however, there had been very little wind. A problem, the city had to solve by utilizing the batteries which charged in the summer days, thus introducing rolling brownouts to ensure vital infrastructures such as hospitals or government offices have power.
It was her eyes that would have to watch the world outside flicker and dim with yet another scheduled brownout. An issue that didn’t really begin until several years ago. She could remember the day it happened as if it was yesterday. That was the day she made history, that was a day she was a part of something greater than herself. That was the day she was part of that change, she WAS that change. About 2 years before that it was announced that all oil exporting countries would cease their exports to the US. Sans finally felt hopeful in this maddening polarizing world. A decision made by what seemed so insignificant at the time, but something that would bring her to have to watch what lay in her future. The embargo was due to the emerging powers who would and could produce it felt slapped in the face with every discussion the Western media and its politicians could have about energy. A decision she believed would usher in a new way of life, a life with energy for the future. The way forward was to focus on the future. This was her future, she was sitting in the sweltering thick of it. The air was heavy and hot, without the luxury of power, much less an air conditioner unit. Even the smallest of household chores required careful management of precious energy reserves. Charging the washer, for instance, was a tedious affair that not only required your federal-issued energy allowance but as well as your patience.
It was her eyes that would have to watch a battery’s charge tick away, and she was powerless to change that. Since the embargo, it seemed that her view of the future was not her expectations. With the refineries around the country shuttering due to the promises of the future, lead to a public rally that they believed they were they way forward, and SHE was a part of it. Pressuring the government to not fund fossil fuels lead to low investments eventually closing to decay as relics of the old way. The scarcity of energy created energy costs where locations that had to have a consistent supply of electricity had to charge higher fees. Government banks who monitor the around-the-clock LibertyCoin transactions had a newly created Financial Freedom Protection Tax to help fund this ongoing operation. Another department the Financial Freedom Tax created was the program to combine state and federal law enforcement agencies. Hospitals, on the other hand, could operate to their own beat., setting prices at such prices that it seemed to only serve those that could afford it. As people began to turn away from the hospital, people found many of the same equipment could be retrofitted for homes and apartments, often coming with a backup battery pack for the brownouts.
As Sans Amal sat in the darkness, watching when power was to be restored on her phone, she couldn't shake the feeling of dread that had settled deep within her. In the next room lay her mother, now in her 80s, she lay silent, connected to a machine to keep her vitals beeping. The recent uptick in brownouts had not let her charge the battery to maximum capacity. Each time the power was on she could never catch a full charge due to a combination of time between brownouts and the time it took to charge the battery. “Battery is CCEE Approved!” or “Battery charge for 5 days!” were marketing attempts to sell these life-supporting devices, plus it helped calm the masses when people realized what target market the hospitals were raising their prices for.
Sans Amal held her breath, praying that the power would miraculously be switched back on before it was scheduled to be restored. The icon her mother was hooked up to just feet away from her flashed “Charge soon: 3 minutes of battery remaining.”, She checked her phone once again.
It was her eyes that read: “7 Minutes until power restoration”.