Cabin Fever. Noun, informal: lassitude and irritability resulting from long confinement indoors during the winter.
Nicaraguans call the rainy season ‘winter’, but it’s a bit different to the winters you might be used to.
In my village in the north of England we used to get snowed in when I was young, but that was only ever for a couple of days a year, and not even every year. Here in Nicaragua the winter rain is guaranteed every year, which, in as much as it makes things grow, is a good thing. The other thing that’s virtually guaranteed, however, is that there will be days on end when the rain will hammer down so heavily on your tin roof that you can barely hear your own voice. So there is no chance of passing the time watching DVDs. You would be a fool to go out and, anyway, the way you gain access to friends’ houses here is to call out ¡buenas! but no-one will hear you. Then the electricity goes off and gradually the battery on your laptop runs down. No electricity means that soon there will be no running water, so at least some exciting moments are spent filling up all the pots and pans you can get your hands on, with the rush to beat the ever-decreasing flow of water and the din of the rain heightening the sense of drama.
By 6pm it’s completely dark. Cooking and washing-up takes longer by candle light, and without the modern convenience of the tap, but that’s just as well as it passes the time. By 8 I’ve had enough of my candle attracting a never ending stream of bugs and mosquitoes and retreat to the mosquito net over my bed. But when (despite my legendary capacity for sleep) I awake at 6am, the first sound I hear is the same as the last sound I heard before falling asleep – rain.
Has the electricity come back? I try the light switch and even hover for a second in hope, but nothing. So we need to be even more careful with the water – there’ll be no flushing today. A peak out the front door revels that the street is now a muddy river. I did have plans for today, but everyone knows that rain stops play here and I’m no longer expecting the visitors to turn up. No need to call – we wouldn’t be able to hear each other anyway. So I take my time over breakfast and use the last bit of battery to finish my blog.
‘Bliss’ all you stressed-out city-wallahs are thinking. And you’re right, thanks for reminding me.