Wednesday, June 01, 2005

our friend, electricity

For the past few weeks I've been picking up static electricity and zapping myself on the metal handle of my office door, feeling like a nascent mutant whose abilities are not yet controllable.

The thing is, despite the fact that I've come to expect the little jolt, I am still surprised when it happens, as if my long term memory deliberately blocks out all recollection of the electric charge just to provide me with a seemingly novel experience in the morning. It's not painful, but it does cause me to exclaim unexpectedly colorful lines of dialogue that are of some amusement to the people in the vicinity. I do find it very irritating, and since my knowledge of electricity is severely limited, I do not know exactly how things have come to this - I mean, it's not as if I drag my feet across a carpet to build up a charge just to zap myself. It's especially challenging when I'm carrying a drink or some other thing in my other hand when I touch the metal.

Of late, elevator buttons of certain buildings I frequent have also gotten into the act. Unlike my office door "Memento" experience, I exhibit Pavlovian behavior with these buttons. I press once, get zapped and then proceed to look around in despair when the damn thing does not even activate, refusing to light up or signal the elevator to fetch me. If I am zapped, I am loathe to be zapped again. Once zapped, twice shy. Wrapping a finger in my untucked shirt or hanky doesn't help much. The solution I finally implemented is to use the eraser end of a pencil to press the offending button - something confused in my mind equates the eraser to rubber while thinking that wood is a good thing, despite the fact that lightning strikes trees down all the time. Whatever.

The other solution is to wait for another person to press the call button. I stand around like an idiot and pretend I'm too busy to even care about something as trivial as calling for an elevator to bring me down 36 floors. Sometimes, whoever pushes the button gets zapped too, which brings a grin to face and light in my life, especially when they look around for confirmation, as if to ask "Did that really just happen to me?". Yes, it did, lady. Welcome to my mutant comic book. I shrug and smile.

In a classic display of human nature, it becomes perfectly fine to be zapped if someone else also gets zapped. It means that I am not alone in the shortlist of those victimized by our friend, electricity.

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