We eventually got spoiled on fairly reliable power. Of course the flipside to that was that we became a land of ever-running generators, so there was a constant, never-ending rumble that persisted in the background of, well, pretty much everything. But every so often a power outage would happen; perhaps a generator was over-loaded or in some cases under-loaded, which apparently creates a different set of problems with diesel generators.
But Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, are used to having power all the time, so when the power goes out it’s a surprise. We knew that Baghdad still wasn’t getting but a few hours a day at the time, but it is hard to really internalize what that means. We thought of our power generation system as some rickety structure, held together by duct tape and tinfoil, perhaps rats on wheels, but the truth is we had it pretty good compared to the civilians in town.