There comes a time in every islander’s life when you have to take a long, hard look at the people around you, and what they mean to you.
Power cuts are particularly good for these periods of self-reflection. As the house starts to heat up and the food in the fridge slowly turns to rotting mush, you’ll be highly motivated to parse down your friends, paying particular attention to the sub-group I like to call FWGs (Friends With Generators).
This highly important category can be further broken down into:
FWBG (Friends with Big Generators)
FWSG (Friends with Small Generators)
Because size matters. You don’t want to descend on a FWG post-hurricane only to find that their tiny excuse for a power source can only run one fan and a single lightbulb.
If you’re lucky enough to have a FWBG in your life, then hold on to them at all costs.
Buy them flowers “just because,” invite them over for sunset drinks, pay them compliments, notice when they’ve lost weight. Strategically bombard them with kindness and generosity.
Then, when a power cut rolls around, it’s time to cash in on all of that karmic gold.
The minute the lights go out (or even flicker – it’s good to get ahead of these things), call your FWBG. The conversation should go something like this:
“Hi . We’re having some power problems. Mind if we come over?”
“Great! We’ll be ’round in ten. Don’t forget to clear some room in the fridge for us. Freezer too – we’ve been stockpiling meat. And I really like the blue cushions, not the green, on the sofa. My skin gets a little sensitive to that cheap polyester.”
“Oh, and we’re bringing the dog – she doesn’t like the dark, starts peeing all over the house. Don’t worry, we’ll bring extra towels.”
“Actually our towels are in the laundry. Any chance you could lend us some? Great. See you in a bit!”
Race over to the cool, brightly-lit comfort of your FWBG’s house and, once there, treat it like home – eat from the fridge, sit on the sofa in your undies, watch their Netflix account, feed their dog Cheetos.
So far, so good.
But what if you don’t have any FWBGs?
Acquiring FWBGs takes time and effort but it can be done. Here are my top tips:
Hang around generator stores. Take note of anyone making a large purchase and tail them home. Observe them closely over a period of weeks and make detailed notes about their hobbies, activities, and friends. Then insinuate yourself into the group: “You love needlework too? Let’s be best buds!”
Persuade existing friends to invest in a generator. If they are unwilling, provide a little motivation by sneaking around to their house in the middle of the night and cutting their electricity cables. Given the efficiency of island power companies, it could be weeks before they’re back on the grid and, by then, they’ll see the wisdom in buying a generator.
Steal a generator. Actually… I wouldn’t do this. For one thing, they are very large and hard to steal. For another, island jails are no joke. No. Joke.
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to buy a generator yourself. This is the cardinal rule:
Do. Not. Buy. Your. Own. Generator.
Go down that path and all of a sudden, people are following you home and showing up in your swim club; friends you’re not even that close with are paying you random compliments; and you’re suddenly getting a lot of sunset drink invitations.
It will dawn on you one day when your so-called friend is sitting on your sofa, watching your Netflix, and feeding your dog Cheetos…
You’ve become the FWG.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.