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The day the power stopped

11.29.2014, Personal, by .

The day before I was to leave for Mexico for my house sitting gig, the owner wrote me and said that his solar batteries have begun to not hold a charge but it’s had enough power to raise the water to the Tinaco, the container on the roof that gives pressure to the house. He believes that if he gets on the grid it will only cost him $7 a month for electricity, which is probably true. He eats mostly nuts, mangos and avocado so he doesn’t even plug his mini-fridge in. His father owns a gallery in town and that’s where he does most of his work and draws most of his power.

He lives in a poor area outside of gentrified San Miguel de Allende where about half of his neighbors don’t have electricity. To get on the grid he had to get permission from his uphill neighbor because a power line pole had to be planted on his property. He told me that switching from his perfectly fine solar panel to the grid SHOULD be done about the middle of my stay. That was a deal breaker for me. He is so far gone in mediation land that he thinks getting the main utility to his home installed is “a very SLIGHT problem” and now I’ve ruined his vacation plans. Had he told me a month ago I might have worked something out with him, he did offer to give me some money. His car was stollen and now he has a scooter that he keeps inside that he worries will be stollen when he leaves. The second floor of his house is dedicated to a pole table which he broadcasts to his neighbors with a wall of windows. It apparently is safe.

So now my plans have changed. I’m thinking about spending some time in Florida and painting on the East coast to grab what’s left of the Fall weather and then going home for the holidays. In January and February I think I’m going to stay in a Hostel in Mexico City. I feel bad that I’ve burned another bridge, but if my recent past is any indication, the more bridges I burn, the easier it is to find hospitable islands.

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