Take your time at the house of the rising sun

Or how to start appreciating civilization

Alex Barrera
3 min readAug 23, 2017
El Palmar beach, Cadiz, Spain

I stared at the electric kettle with obscure lust. One touch. That’s all you needed. One touch and the liquid heated. That amalgam of fuzzy molecules that many of us take for granted will erupt in millions of convulsions. That transparent torrent of oxygenated hydrogen or is it hydrogenated oxygen?

I touched the faucet again. It was still there, was it? And there was still water in it, right? I opened the tab again. There it was, new, shiny, shimmering cascade of potable water. Off. On. Off. On. Drink. Rinse. Repeat.

I came back from our family vacation with a vague sense of disorientation. Urbanite Stockholm syndrome came to my mind. Is that even a thing?

I spent the last two weeks in a house with no electricity, no drinkable water, close to no drainage and a persistent manure smell. Ok, the smell was closer to a fecal swamp than manure, and it wasn’t persistent, it was governed by the strong winds that also coated every inch of matter in a subtle patina of desert dust.

We’re becoming lazy as fuck. That was the one phrase that kept screening through my mind in repeat. Lazy and accommodated and impatient.

Every morning, the next door rooster, feeling displaced by my phone’s alarm clock, decided to make it his mission to wake me up. No snooze button he thought. No way you’re going back to bed. I’m doing you a favor dude. Didn’t you want efficiency? Fuck your “smart” phone, trust the cock!

Descending the boat like staircase, without crashing was a strain. Boat like stairs, the consequence of a DIY gone ugly, pencil marks still underlining the screw-up.

Made it to the kitchen. Head on, all my toes intact. Full of dust, mind you. Now the real ritual commences. Wash the pot, dump half a litter of what you hope is potable water. Pray the gas-stove works this morning. It takes several games of whack-a-mole to get the flame nice and steady. But steady it goes.

Now you relax, boiling water takes a while when your pot is a veteran from Vietnam. Roam through your teas. Is it an Oolong day? Maybe more of a Japanese Sencha? No, it feels roasted today. Place the tea, measure, smell. Smell again. Ah, don’t forget to clean the teapot. It’s full of dark marks, and yes, you guessed right, dust. No problemo. What you still hope is water, is still on it’s way to it’s induced change of state.

With an eloquent flare, you disgorge the cereals and pour the milk. Milk that, surprisingly, didn’t come from the cows mooing right around the corner. It seems those are more for eating. Something which we also indulged in, but that’s another story.

Water is boiling. Tea ready, steeping underway. You count the seconds in your mind. Your phone and its chrono, out of reach, already covered in that fine and dry powder that you swear you had cleaned seconds ago.

20 minutes later you sit down. Cereals ready. Tea ready. Book ready. Internet failing. And you smile. The sun streaming through the wooden window. No more sounds than that of the wind screaming through the wind generator blades. And the cock. Of course the cock.

But you’re happy. You’re happy because there is no pressure. No deadlines, no meetings, and no calls. Happy because you don’t care. Because it makes your morning a crawl and slow is a good thing. It gives you time to think, to reflect and to enjoy those little things we call life.

I stared at the electric kettle with obscure lust, and I sighted. I miss the darn gas-powered-crude-pot-with-dirty-water moments.



Alex Barrera

Chief Editor at The Aleph Report (@thealeph_report), CEO at Press42.com, Cofounder & associated editor @tech_eu, former editor @KernelMag.