Fixing the Lights in My Neighborhood

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — The Electric Company is changing the lines to every house on the block; but during this work, several explosions have occurred and several street lights have burnt out. One lady’s television tube in her house even went up in a flash of sparks and smoke.

As a result of all this, at my house, for example, I’m going to have to buy a new fluorescent tube and a stove lighter.

I don’t know why they had to wait for the electrical system to run down to such a deplorable state. But since they’re now resolved to fix it, that fact deserves applause – because things could have gotten even worse.

I also don’t know why they are working in such a way that so many explosions are occurring, which cause the burning out of some appliances. In this case, proper government action is clouded by individual negligence, but such “negligence” — I think it’s arguable — could also be associated with the government.

I believe that the final decision is always going to belong to the individual. One shouldn’t place the blame on external agents for our situation, let alone on the choices we ourselves make.

If I’m negligent in my work, it’s not because life is difficult and because wherever I go people mistreat me. Rather, it’s because I’ve decided that I don’t believe my work can improve my life or those of others.

Since most of us have been thinking like this, our perception of life is much crueler than the objective problems we’re going through.

So now, imagine that one morning all of us Cubans come to an agreement and each person properly fulfills their responsibilities, gives their best at work, and puts a little love into what they do. The results would be surprising.

If they were selling soda from the tap, they wouldn’t add so much water; actually they might even raise the price a little so that people would have something good to drink. The same goes for beer taps and rum-shot bars, which are options for people who don’t have CUCs to spend at hard-currency stores.

Sure, it would be good if the state vendors earned according to sales so that there wouldn’t be tempting needs.

As I always say, this isn’t about defending or attacking anyone. I’m not trying to cover up the many spots of our sun, but — as sometimes happens — the tears of our crying aren’t letting us see the stars.

My advice? Go out into the street tomorrow and treat everyone well with whom you come into contact. In your work, give your all, leaving aside those resentments and frustrations we’ve been mulling over all these years. Even if not a single peso falls into your pocket, enjoy a kiss, which is more important.