The small red car was illegally parked. A handwritten note read, “No power when we got home. No parks outside. Call Adrian…”

That was from the night before, when it all began. Since early evening I’d had no hot water. Now, at 10am, I was locked out myself, barefoot, unwashed, on the street, in a thunderstorm, staring at the kerbside evidence of collective frustration.

Not because I’d forgotten my keys, but because I’d taken the recycling down without knowing that a power cut to the building’s common areas meant the lift would take you to ground, but not back up. I thought about getting the brolly from the car, but the basement was five floors of total darkness. As to getting back home, there was no other lift and the fire escape door, I’d learned during last week’s sofa failure, didn’t open from within. In a flash, I knew myself to be trapped in a ruthless system.

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Sydney Morning Herald
Elizabeth Farrelly