Tonight was the last night I was supposed to feed my friend’s cat as he’s back tomorrow morning from his business trip. Everything had gone smoothly the previous two nights. This evening I got to the apartment a bit later than usual because I stayed late at work and didn’t leave until 7pm. I got home, decided to eat dinner first, and I may have played some PS4 for about 15 minutes. I then walked over to my friend’s place.
When I opened the door, I was greeted by the familiar meowing of the cat. I stepped in and I immediately noticed something was off. The previous night, I had left some kitchen accent lighting on so the cat could have some light to see his water and food dishes. This lighting was off now for some reason. I went over to the switches and flicked them back and forth. Nothing. Odd. I went over to the switches that controlled the living room lights and flicked them. Nothing again. Just darkness. More oddness. My friend had left a fan on in his bedroom so the cat could have some moving air. The fan was off. The microwave clock in the kitchen was off. It was now clear to me the power was off. Why?
When I entered the building, all the common area lights were on and the elevator was certainly working. Did the breakers trip somehow? I found the breaker box in the bedroom. Meanwhile, the cat wouldn’t leave me alone. He was rubbing my legs and causing me to almost trip over him as I inspected the apartment. He kept meowing as well. I noticed his wet cat food dish was empty, so he was probably really hungry. I decided to check the breaker box but afterwards, I’d have to feed the cat. I used my phone’s light to check all the breakers. They were all in the correct position.
Before opening a can of wet cat food, I texted my friend that his power was out but it was on everywhere else in the building. By phone flashlight, I then washed and refilled the cat’s wet cat food dish. I set it down and the cat immediately went for it, chowing down heartily. I refilled his water dish and then scooped more dry food into his other dish. My friend replied with some surprise. He wondered if he had remembered to pay his electricity bill. He also mentioned they usually slip a letter under his door if he forgot. I then remembered on the second night, I found a letter that had been slipped under his door. The letter was from the city.
I texted him back that he indeed did have a letter from the city. I asked if I could open it and he agreed. Upon opening the letter, I discovered it was from the utilities department. It was a notice of electrical disconnection. They had sent him two other reminders of late payment but he had not paid them. In total, he was in arrears over $400 and it would cost at least another $130 for a re-connection fee. As such, the letter went on to say he would lose his power anytime in the next day or so. It was clear they followed through. I sent a picture of the letter to my friend. He was deeply embarrassed.
I decided to stay for a few more minutes to pet the cat and give him some companionship but it was weird just sitting their in the near darkness, only illuminated by my phone’s flashlight. I left soon after, feeling a bit bad for the cat without any lights.
My friend returns tomorrow but he intends to call the city before his flight in the morning.