Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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The Importance of Plastic Rings on Circuit-Breaker Boxes

Some creep opened my circuit-breaker box outside at 7:00 p.m. last night and shut off my electricity. I looked outside and saw that the electricity was still on at all the neighboring apartments and knew instantly that was what had happened, because it happened once before. I dialed the emergency pager number of the apartment complex maintenance guy, and paged him three times, but he never called back. So I decided to take matters into my own hands, except that I didn't know exactly where my circuit-breaker box was, so I had to hunt around for my flashlight (which took a while) and then fumble around in the bushes outside looking for a box. Eventually I found a box that looked like it might have a circuit-breaker behind it, but it was bolted closed and I didn't have the right size pliers. So I got in the car and drove to buy pliers, and also new flashlight batteries in case I didn't succeed in getting the electricity back on for a while, and also a great big new French Vanilla scented candle as extra backup lighting - oh yes, and a big packet of matches; I finally figured out which grocery store aisle the matches are in. Then I went home and unbolted the box - but it turned out to be a telephone box, not a circuit-breaker box, so that was no help at all. I re-bolted it and circled my building twice with a flashlight searching for any other box that might potentially have a circuit-breaker behind it, but I couldn't find a thing. Eventually I went back inside and resigned myself to a night of reading by flashlight.

My apartment complex is not known for having its rental office open very often, so I was afraid they'd be closed for Martin Luther King Day today, and I foresaw another 24 hours of calling the emergency pager number and getting no response. But by some miracle the rental office was actually open this morning, and the repair guy even happened to be in there, and when I said my electricity was off, he said yes, someone went around last night shutting it off at random apartments throughout the complex. He showed me where my circuit-breaker box is, so in the future I can correct the problem myself - but I also see why mine was chosen to be shut off, because there's a group of four boxes there and the other three all have little clear plastic rings around the closures so that you can't open the box unless you cut through the ring first, which can't be done with bare hands. My box has no ring on it, which makes it the most convenient one to open up and shut off.

I just spent 15 and a half hours with no electricity, all because I don't have a simple one-inch long ring of clear plastic around my circuit-breaker box. The universe has revealed to me today that a plastic ring is the key to achieving all peace in life. I want a plastic ring.
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