08 October 2015

Power-Outage-Induced Insanity

At our first house in Malaysia, the electricity had a charming habit of going off in the middle of the night.

Now, I want it noted that, during daylight hours, I am a rather sane individual about temperature. I can withstand pretty hot temperatures, and I don't always need to be in a perfectly warm or cool room.

However. In the middle of the night when the electricity went out and the ceiling fan stopped spinning--I lost any form of sanity I normally possessed. I would wake up instantaneously--while the hum of the ceiling fan normally lulled me to sleep, its absence was an immediate indicator that the electricity was out and there would be no more blissfully cooling fan for possibly hours to come. In the middle of the night, this always seemed like the greatest of tragedies.

My first response would usually be to fall out of bed onto the floor, because, as everyone knows, tile floors are much cooler than mattresses. If it was raining, I would sometimes go out to the balcony and sleep in the rain, because that also seemed preferable to spending a single second in the bed that suddenly seemed suffocatingly hot as soon as the fan went out.

If neither the floor nor the balcony were allowing me to sleep, I'd go downstairs to Mom and Dad's bedroom and knock on the door, usually somewhat hysterical by this point, and inform them that the electricity was out and it was impossible to sleep anywhere else than on their bedroom floor--at which point I would crash on the floor. Mom and Dad's bedroom floor was the best place to sleep in case of a power outage, because their room was the only one with air-con, and even though the air-con was no longer running, the tiles had absorbed the cool temperature and made for a comfortable resting place.

I should note, that the rest of my entire family slept soundly through all of these power outages--or at least they would have slept soundly, if my wails of despair and my announcements of the lack of electricity hadn't woken them up.

To this day, now that we're living in Malaysia again and experiencing the humid tropical nights once more, if Angel turns off the fan in the middle of the night, I wake up disoriented and upset and have to get it turned back on.

Keep the fans going in the middle of the night and I'll sleep like a baby. I make no promises concerning my behavior when the fans turn off.

If nighttime electricity outages are a test of the mettle of one's character, then I think I have failed that test. I'll have to work on that one of these days.

{This is Day 9 in my 31 Days series: 31 Days of Growing Up in Malaysia}


  1. I used to lie down on the tile in the dining room when I lived in Hawaii. That humid heat is killer without AC or a fan!

  2. Hah, man, what an adventure to find a place! Plus you have to figure out where to flop your body, pillows, and the like down while in a delirious, half-asleep phase. I'm totally the same about ceiling fans--I need one on as well as a decently cool temperature to sleep otherwise I wake up in the middle of the night in the most irritable of sleepy states. You're not alone in that, lady!

  3. Ha! Being awakened so abruptly in the middle of the night is not a pleasant experience. Plus, when you're half asleep, you're not yourself. I love these stories!

  4. Hehe. I hate getting hot in the middle of the night. I've been known to wake up and... ahem... tear my pajamas off before going back to sleep.

  5. Haha, becoming a hot and sweaty mess in a bed is a terrible feeling. Although I lived in the U.S. in a place that didn't have humid tropical weather, whenever my mom would wake up early, come into my room and turn off the ceiling fan because she thought it was cool enough, I'd immediately wake up super cranky and turn the fan back on.

  6. Hahaha, being awoken in the middle of the night is always the worst but it's even more awful if you can't go back to sleep immediately.

  7. I think it would be so cool to sleep out on a porch!

  8. Oh gosh that would drive me crazy too!!! We sleep with two fans but its to drown out loud neighbors above us...