Battery Life

It started off with 28%. That’s not very much considering. But that’s how much battery my iPhone had when I walked out the house into the pouring rain this evening.

28% of anyone’s life is limited. I mean, any exertion of any kind is going to kill the battery completely, so in situations like this, it’s advised to limit use to only ‘the necessary’.

Well, my mum rang me. I was glad to speak to her. Although I know she doesn’t always understand my depression, she’s knows the situation of the last few days.

Low Battery: 20% remaining! Declares the pop-up message. What would happen if I let it reach 0%? I know from past experience, it would probably get to 6%, then the phone would shut down completely. Forever. No more input. Should no-one take the decision to recharge it; nurse it back to its full health.

My pint of Stella (in a posh Stella goblet, no less) is half empty. Or should that be half full? The goblet makes me think of the last supper. I wonder how many people have sat in a pub, having a drink, before their battery has died completely? How many have chosen not to revive it, to pump life back into it? How many have just let it stay black?

The glass is still half empty and outside the sky is still dark. Out the window, on the opposite side of the road, is a kebab shop. In the flat upstairs, the sash windows are open. Inside, well, the inside is as dark as the dark, grey sky.

18%. Its lifeline is red now, well the life it has left. The rest is black, dark like the sky and inside of the flat window opposite. There is no green here, no bright green bars, nor bright green leaves. There is only grey and that dark.

But wait, there is laughter. I look up, at my half empty Stella. I glance past the glass, at the seats opposite. I was wrong; there is no laughter there. There is only silence. Silence, solitude, surrounded by a sea of chit chat. Nattering that bypasses me, because I am not laughing. I am sat alone. With my pint. With my 17, no wait, 16, per cent.

I check outside. I hear the spray from the passing cars. The rain that fell not so long ago is all but gone. But the sky remains dark, and the open window of the flat opposite, is like someone has taken a picture of the dark sky and framed it.

I take a sip of Stella. The lager sloshes around, before settling to its position of half empty. But wait, could it be half full? No, it’s still half empty.

Outside, a girl walks past with a purple umbrella. Purple, to match the dark of the sky, and the inside of the framed flat window opposite. Funny, she didn’t look sad, despite the purple umbrella.

15%. A double decker bus drives past. Although I know its colour to be blue, its advertisement on the side panel is illuminated in purple. The only light, in a world of darkness. Even the light, is dark.

14% remaining; the thin red line pushes flat against the side of the battery, its white outline looking like the chalk outline you see on those old cop shows. 13%; here lies battery.

A second bus drives past. Also, purple. The Ritz’ pink neon lights illuminate the overhang of the front of the building. A smoking woman, with short hair, and bad teeth, draws an arch shape for her friend, who remains inside, not wishing to inhale her friend’s passive smoke.

No, I’m wrong, it’s not another woman, it’s a man in a red t-shirt. He reads the paper, ignoring the outside world completely. I try to picture them together, but I cannot. The smoking woman with bad teeth surely is no friend of the man with the red t-shirt, whose hair is neat and shorn.

The two older couples opposite me, sat in the window seats, are oohing and awwing. They say there is a rainbow; no, a DOUBLE rainbow. They observe it a few more seconds before returning to their conversation.

10%, my battery screams. Even the numbers are in red now, and a pop-up message warns me I am down to my last 10%. It doesn’t say whether I’ll get another warning, or not.

Out of the window, the sky is still dark, though it is illuminated now with a sunny haze. It doesn’t know whether to be dark or light, whether to laugh, or cry. No wait, that’s me.

In the kebab shop window opposite, two pink neon strips line the whitewashed window. A girl from the bar comes collecting glasses, as the two couples put on their coats.

“Is it still raining?”, “No, it’s not too bad now”, “No, it’s not too bad now, is it?”. The conversation continues as they all go their separate ways.

A man comes out of the big, red doorway opposite, squeezed between the kebab shop and the travel agents. I cannot see where he is going, but I feel sure he is heading to the Spar, for more cigarettes, or maybe a tin of beans.

6%. I should get some beans on my way home. Home. I look up at the sky, which is getting darker again. I check the time; 20:13. It’ll be dark soon, and the sky doesn’t have to decide if it should be dark or light. It only has to be dark, and cloudy, or clear. The windows of the upstairs flat opposite remain dark. I wonder if the man who came from the red door lives there. It seems a strange place for a red door, like something out of Alice in Wonderland.

5%. The thin red line is pushed right to the side now. It knows it cannot survive. A decision must be made. Live, or die?

The pedestrian crossing sounds, and then the traffic starts again.

I glance at my glass; Not even half-half empty now. The lager pushes against my bladder, warning like the 4%, that a choice needs to be made.

I swig half the remaining liquid. Outside, the pink neon glow continues its own rainbow on the window of the kebab shop.

“It’s not that bad,” the conversation from the couples comes back to me.

3%. I glance at the glass. I finish it, then place the glass, with the Stella Artois logo facing me. Just so.

I glance outside, then back at my battery life. Like the weather, it’s been a stormy night. But it’s not that bad, and now, like the storm, I have calmed.

2%. I leave to the darkness. Tonight is not the night.

Copyright Jodie Orton/33andLostinLife 2012


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