Shedding the Load

Load shedding


Load shedding defined

When South Africa’s electricity gets turned off due to massive ineptitude and avarice on behalf of the country’s only power provider.

I have to provide the definition because it’s come to my attention that people in 1st world countries have no clue what load shedding is.

Until a few years ago, neither did we.

Yesterday, I had a fascinating and insightful conversation with a lady in the UK.


It went like this:

“We think it would be nice to something around load shedding.”


“Like, we could remind people to record the show they’ll miss because of load shedding.”

“Um. That won’t be possible, because load shEskom, load shedding, south africaedding means that there is no power, so you can’t record anything.”

“Alright, so lets give them something easy to cook during load shedding.”

“Yeah, that would be amazing, except again, no power.”

“How about a no-bake cheesecake you can just pop in the fridge?”

“About that, the fridge has no power either.”

“What about internet access?”

“Well, the Wi-Fi would be down because of the whole no power thing and data here costs more than a kidney on eBay so most people won’t use their last two bars of battery and data to watch TV.”

Deep sigh.

My colleague interjects, “Basically, just imagine what London was like in the 1800s.”

I’m sure that helped a whole lot.

I didn’t set out to be deliberately obstructive. Promise.

So, we moved on to the times when most people are online.

“Here, in the UK, our high traffic times are 7am to 9am and 4pm to 6pm – so we think you should do more around these times.”

Deep breath in.

“I’m sorry, but that won’t really work here, because we don’t have a viable public transport system, so during those commuting hours people are mainly sitting in traffic jams waiting to die.”

“Oh,” she said, “That’s a very good insight.”

Yes. Yes, it is.

It’s a very good insight into the deteriorating state of government affairs and infrastructure in the face of extreme incompetence.

After that call I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

So, I chose to laugh.





Power Down


Last night the power went out.

No panic.

I called Eskom and a lovely lady assures me my account was in credit and  there was no reason for my home to be isolated in darkness.

A sweetheart of a technician came and flipped the switch at the mains box and restored light to the dark.

At some point during the night the rain seeping into the mains box resulted in what ever happens when large amounts of H2O come into contact with large amount electricity.


This morning.

No power.

No alarm clock.

No school run.

No coffee.

No electric gate motor.

No husband. (Not his fault, he’s in Dubai)

No Xanax.

No Eskom.

Why no Eskom this morning after they were so solicitous last night?

Today load shedding begins.

This means that everyone is calling them or logging onto their website to complain.

So, I can’t get through with my Armageddon electrical disaster.

Discovery Health may have to pay for the Xanax and a stint in an upmarket recovery spa.

Hence the need for an ICD10 code.

They can charge the bill to Eskom.

A Sunbeam

Does Jesus want me for a sunbeam

Or to light a fire under someone else’s ass?

I tend to err on the side of the latter

As I a strike a match to light their methane gas

Kaboom, kablooey off they go

If nothing else they made a beautiful firework show

I fear the tables may have turned on me

That I may be struck down suddenly

And without warning by a flash of lightning

Dispatched in manner incredibly frightening

I know I could never work in a bank

As a sailor I’d be responsible for every ship that sank

I’d be a lousy tennis player and not a baseball star

My sporting prowess more a source of raucous laughter

So I ended up in advertising and my friends look on with pity

As I stick up billboards everywhere across Joburg city

I know what I do is trivial and not all that deserving of respect

But I do it pretty well – better than a banker would I bet!

Do I dream of something else, some post-apocalyptic skill

Like a hunter or a doctor or some vocation that will

Save the world we live in and keep us all alive

Yes, but all I have to offer now is some amusing rhymes!

I give thanks then that I married a man with all the skills I need

To hunt for food and fix my car and other heroic deeds

And if today I succeed in giving you a smile

Than at least it may stave off the end of the world for a while

It’s funny the things I take for granted

That a few years ago had not been invented

I blithely assume that everyone can use the Internet

Can email and Google and knows about GREP

I assume that everyone on my team

Backs up their work on the server, do you know what I mean?

But it turns out that that’s not what they do

And I can’t even blame them, can you?

Eskom’s load shedding often leaves us powerless

Unable to work and meet deadlines even less

Our network is a seesaw on IT’s playground

So, (and there’s no nice way to say it) we get screwed around

Which is why they save the work on their desktops instead

And take their computers home with them when they are sick in bed

Which brings me to my next topic of discussion for the day

Martyrs and martyrdom should really stay away

From my studio when they are really ill

If I get sick because of them I’ll send them my doctor’s bill

We all like to think we are irreplaceable and perfectly unique

But I can someone else to do the work – you dig?

So stay in bed and sleep, take your pills every 4 hours

We’ll handle the work and send you some pretty flowers

Marais is feeling a trifle peeved

The changes I’ve marked are not to be sneezed

at. I’ve typed them all out, I’m a little anal that way

To be sure no small error slips away

I knew he’d be pretty mad at me

Which is why I tried to get the job into DTP

Now the servers are down and I can’t get in

The mails not working and I can’t log in

It renders me nearly apoplectic

And they have no idea when it’ll be fixed!