Saturday, January 13, 2007

Spark Notes

One more odd thing about this land in which I live.
Beside the boogers, ice cream headaches from a short walk in the wind, and the all too often injuries to my buttocks, we have:

Static electricity.

Not a new thing. Everyone has encountered surprising shocks at one point or another.
By scuffing your feet on a carpet and touching something metal you can create a fun little shock that will amaze your friends and annoy your enemies.

Sometimes, in the winter, you might have a regular habit of creating these little shocks in your everyday activities. You might even see the effects of displaced electrons in your hair or clothing.

But, until I moved to one of the few places on earth that have a desert, an ocean, and far below zero temperatures, did I encounter the kind of static that forces you to take great effort to work around them.

Allow me to explain.

The woman across the hall was sitting on the couch when her phone rang. She jumped up from her seat and scampered to the table in her socks. She reached for the phone and upon contact with its internal metal parts created a brief static shock.
The spark fried her phone.
No more calls for her.

A friend was lying in bed. He rolled over to his computer and reached out to check his email. The spark resulting from his electron charged hand cause the computer to shut down.
And never turn on again.

And my favorite story.

A friend of mine has a habit of walking around the house without a bra.
It’s very comfortable and worth doing when you live alone in an isolated place such as this. And even if you don’t.
Because of tight quarters she is forced to turn sideways when going through a particular entranceway. This entrance has a metal binding in one corner. On a dally basis, contact with this underlying metal creates a nifty little spark.
Directly onto her nipple.
Yes. I said nipple.
She was an interesting crimson color when she told me this story.

Since living here, since the dramatic increase of hopping electrons, and since the onset of winter, I have found myself doing the strangest things.

Before I touch my computer I absently touch the lamp. It usually hurts.
Before I touch the TV I thoughtlessly hit a near-by doorknob. It’s usually bright and blue.
Before I touch the DVD player I unthinkingly graze I logically placed knife. It’s usually ineffective. My DVD player has taken a beating lately.

Static is stupid.
And ouchy.

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