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Cheque it out

March 6, 2021

About an hour before I was due to head out for a walk with Joe and Georgie yesterday the power went off.

This was a bit of a surprise, as it seemed to be a perfectly nice day, not particularly windy and certainly no major dump of snow. (It still amazes me that the power actually stayed on during the recent three-day blizzard.) The only thing the BC Hydro power outage hotline had to say was that they were aware of an outage and were investigating. Good time to go for a walk.

As we were walking Joe and I reminisced (if “reminisce” is the word for it) about power failures past. Most are sorted out fairly quickly – within a few hours. But we have had a couple of spectacular ones.

A few years ago, on another nice day, the power went off suddenly. I can’t remember the details exactly, but it was something like this: a tug boat was towing a crane on a barge. The crane toppled over and having done so dragged along the sea bed, ripping out and snapping both the electricity and internet cable lines to the island. We were without power or internet for several days. I do have an old phone I use when the power is out and the cordless phone is useless. With this I rang off island friends with a request that they go on the internet and find out what the hell was going on. The third day of the outage I went to town as a foot passenger in order to get some money from the bank (ATMs on the island were, of course, not working) and go to the library to use its computers to check and respond to some emails.

Two Decembers ago, in the run up to Christmas, we had one of those “once in a century” weather events that are now occurring rather more frequently than once a century. A super-mega-ginormous wind storm uprooted trees and knocked out power throughout the islands and a large part of the Lower Mainland (the area surrounding Vancouver). Despite at the time not having a functioning generator, in the greater scheme of things, I was in a better position than some. Unlike city folks who were completely screwed, I did have a woodstove and plenty of wood in the shed, so I could stay warm and at least fry an egg or heat up soup. My concern was running out of batteries and propane cannisters for the storm lamps. When I went to the village to address this concern there was a bit of a problem. The internet was down, so cash was required for purchases. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough cash and the ATMs, of course, weren’t working. But here’s the thing: they would take a cheque. And, as I said to Joe yesterday, when we were reminiscing, I am old (and old-fashioned) enough to carry a seldom-used chequebook in my bag. Problem solved. Joe, when I mentioned this, told me he is old-fashioned enough to always carry at least one seldom-used cheque in his wallet. (By day four the grocery store had enough cash in hand that you could write a cheque for more than the cost of your purchases and get some of that cash in your own hands.) The power, by the way, did come back on just after dark on the fifth day, Christmas Eve.

Yes, I am just randomly sticking in photos of Georgie, because, well, why not? I am totally smitten with this dog.

When I got home after our walk I checked the Hydro hotline again and was informed that the estimated time power would be reinstated was 8pm. Hmm. I was already a bit peckish and everything I could have been making for dinner really did require the use of the stove (which is not one of the things the generator powers). Okay, I thought, I’ll ring the restaurant (which I know has a generator) and order my favourite pizza for pick up at 6pm.

When I got to the restaurant the internet was, of course, down, so the only payment options were, I was told, cash or e-transfers. Oops. Checked my wallet to confirm what I already knew: there was one ten dollar bill inside, which was half the amount required. “Do you do e-transfers?” the smiling young woman behind the counter asked. “No,” I told her with a shake of my head and perhaps a roll of my eyes. Even if my mobile phone had whatever app installed which facilitates e-transfers (which it doesn’t), I don’t actually carry the phone with me anywhere outside the house except to track my steps when I go for a walk. (Yesterday afternoon’s tally: 8,602.) And then it hit me and I said, “I could write a cheque.” The young woman seemed a bit baffled by the suggestion. Suspect she’s never seen a chequebook, let alone ever possessed one. But when she enquired about this bizarre suggestion of mine, the owner looked over and said, “For a regular customer? Yes, of course.” Problem solved.

When the power did come on a couple of hours later, the first thing I did was ring Joe to tell him this story. (Figured I’d forget if I waited until the next time I saw him and Georgie.)

There is definitely something to be said for being old-fashioned.

From → Blog

  1. Donna permalink

    Love the random pics of Georgie. She is one photogenic pup 🙂

  2. John Galpin permalink

    You can set up Apple Pay on your phone. Open the “Wallet” ap and add your card. Then you just hold your phone over the terminal at the checkout and it pays without the need to touch anything. Not much help if the powers out but then you won’t need to carry your card everywhere you go.

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