overhaul / undertow

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

shock treatment: unfun

So no, I wasn't subjected to actual shock treatment. But the weirdest thing just happened.

I was making my bed. On it I have three blankets that are blends of nylon and acrylic, mostly.

I'm a lazy person by nature, and it's been a big project of late to change that, but sometimes it still gets the best of me: so although I'd finished laundering the sheets and blankets two days ago, I hadn't actually Made The Bed: I'd just put the fitted sheet on the mattress, laid the blankets one over the other, and slept like that, without the whole tucking and hospital corners thing (which I really prefer, but am--yes--lazy).

So tonight I decided to actually MAKE the bed. This required me to separate the blankets that had been laid one on top of another, situate 'em lower on the bed one by one, and tuck them in.

I pulled them all off in one big floop and separated the first blanket from the pile and situated it all straight on the bed. Bleh. Making beds is boring and takes too long. So to save time I tried to put the last two blankets on together.

I put them on top of the first blanket, but the top blanket was now all awry, off center and dragging on the floor. So, the other two blankets below it now situated, I pulled the topmost blanket upwards really fast into the air, away from the blanket underneath it, and it billowed up into the space above the bed. As it pulled away from the blanket below it there was a wind-whipping crackle and hiss: static electricity. Blankets of synthetic fibers usually accrue a static charge, but somehow the rapid pulling apart of the two blankets, the influx of air into the suddenly wide empty space between them, and the stormy weather outside all came together to form what's the most unfuckingbelievable static electric shock I've ever felt. It was a millionth of a second as it crackled up my arm, passed agitatedly through my body, irritated it couldn't get past my shoes as it searched for a way out, then finally arced in frustration from the shoes to the floor, where there was a bright flash of light and an actual visible electric current that shot from the lower part of my boot to the floor.

Now, when I was maybe twelve or so I accidentally touched a bare wire while trying to flip a light switch in the dark. The plate covering the wires had been removed, or never put on, and I remember leaping what felt like six feet into the air and shrieking as a white-hot blue flame lanced through me into the ground. That was really bad, and could have killed me, but everything turned out ok as for the most part, unless we're talking about emotional things, I tend to have good survival skills. Tonight, this shock was about a third that strong, but that fact that any charge that serious could have come from something as innoucous as a blanket leaves me utterly amazed at the vast amounts of potential energy trapped in every still thing around us. It makes me see why scientists are fascinated with electricity: it is life, it is energy, distilled and concentrated down to its purest and most elemental form.

Afterwards my heart was beating really fast and I couldn't catch my breath. I have to conclude it was a strong, and unstable enough shock to actually kind of freak out my bodily rhythms a bit. Incredible. I still feel a weird, fatigued feeling through all my limbs. Very strange.


At 10:58 AM, Anonymous jaylinn said...

Hmmmm. Sounds kinda Awesome. Glad you weren't hurt.....

Once when i was cleaing the countertop in my kitchen with a wet sponge, i happened to rub the ever-so-sensitive part of my arm right about the elbow kinda on the inside of that sweet skin part against the metal freezer handle, which apparently, wasn't grounded, and i, too, got what must have been similar to the Light Switch Incident. The current bolted through me, sent me to my knees and made me cry. Before i went down like one of those donkey toys you used to have when you were a kid with the little donkey on a black box that when you squeezed the box, the plastic donkey - with string joints and bones - collapsed. when you release the box, it stands erect again. But before i went down like the donkey in tears, i kicked the shit out of the fridge, which only hurt my foot. then i cried even more for being an asshole.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Sarah Francesca said...

oh man, i'm sorry about the pain. truth is stranger than fiction and i'd like to read more about it.


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