2020: The Toughest Year Ever

Today we were sitting at our tiny kitchen table eating lunch and my son, out of nowhere and in between jokes and memes, says to us "Wow, 2020 has been the worst year EVER", and he meant it. My wife looked at him a little strange and before she had the chance to say anything I butted in "Not really, we are all OK and we are together. You should remember what happened in 2011 literally on this day. The day of the explosion when we lost electricity and those people died."

To catch you up, in 2011 I awoke in bed at roughly 5:50 AM when all of our electricity went out and our house got hot IMMEDIATELY. As I walked down the dark hallway in our house I began to feel and hear a huge BOOOOOMMMMMM! Against better judgement I went to the veranda door, opened it and went outside. It was early enough for the air to be cool. I looked around and saw nothing except that nobody anywhere as far as I could see had electricity and it was quiet as a mouse outside.

And about 15 minutes later thick clouds of smoke blew through the city from East to West.

This was before Twitter. TV didn't work. Radio didn't work. Had no idea what went on. A few hours later we got word that there was an explosion that took out our electric plant. See, our little island is a "must stop" depot for anyone going through the Med Sea and it seems that we stopped a giant container ship being sent from Iran to who knows where. Seized 98 shipping containers full of stuff that would explode and in the kind of heat here that we have...it isn't smart to store it at The Naval Base, some just 500 feet away from the electrical power plant station of the country. 2/3 of the Country was without electricity and the power plant had to be demolished before it could be reconstructed.

No electricity eventually improved to 16 hours per day without electricity (we didn't get to choose when) followed by 8 hours per day without and eventually 4 hours per day without. Let me tell you, when it is THIS HOT outside and you have zero electricity for 16 hours per day, life gets wild. A 1.5 megaton blast that damaged over 700 homes and businesses directly. It was a super shock for me. I remember spending hours and hours per day with my son in the bath tub (cold water) and a window open so that we did not get sick from the extreme heat.

13 Dead. A pair of twin boys included.

And then...my wife jumped in. She pointed out that my son had never experienced war or the real threat of going to war and losing everything. Beyond 1974 when our island was invaded by Turkey and they took almost 1/2 of our island and still illegally occupy it, we are in constant threat from them. Even right now they have their drilling ships off of our coast drilling OUR GAS out of the water because right now NOBODY CAN DO A THING TO STOP THEM but talk.

My wife mentioned 2002 when a Motorbike Gang took their yearly ride to The Green Line Buffer Zone to pay tribute. We are the only country still divided by a wall and it is guarded by The United Nations. On some of the roads there is a little Buffer Zone where you are not on either side really and you have some space to stop, and turn around before you enter illegal territory. When the bikers all got there, and this was all being televised live, a man got off his bike and went to hang a Greek Flag on a pole. At this point, she tells us, a Turkish sniper shot him dead. ON LIVE TV. Two UN Soldiers guarding the area were also wounded. All men (my father-in-law and brother-in-law included) were called to active duty National Guard. My wife remembers them having their bags packed and they had instructions where to report to, guns in hand. My wife and mother-in-law had done many practice runs of how fast that they could get to the nearest underground shelter (knowing this is important where we live) and they had their "grab and go" bags packed. Threats went back and forth for months and those tensions are constantly being felt even now.

The video is horrible. I suggest that you do not watch it.

Shelter in place, stay home, seek shelter, survive at all costs...the people here have done that very thing so many times that they are experts. 2020 Has been wild but nothing that they haven't done before. Shelter hard, make the best decisions that they can make, get back to normal as quickly as possible (we are actually opening up ahead of schedule here now).

After my wife's story, neither my son nor myself had much to say except just finish our vegetables and be thankful that all we had to do was stay at home, be nervous of the unknown, and make a dollar stretch as far as we could possibly make it stretch.

And if anyone has any ideas on how to get Turkey to leave our waters right now...throw up a flag!

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