My cell phone had been giving me grief for a while. Since it’s a few years past its free replacement date, I headed to our local MTS shop to pick up a new one. Because there always seems to be a lineup, I packed the necessities. But to my surprise, I was the only one in there. I walked up to the counter, thrilled with the lack of other customers. ‘It’s past time to replace my phone,’ I said. ‘And I have some changes to make to my account.’
‘Let me see it,” said the employee, a friendly guy I’ve dealt with before. I checked my pockets and the handy cloth bag I was carrying. I dug through my jeans and my secret inside-the-ski-jacket zippered compartment. Nothing.
‘I’ve forgotten it,’ I said, trying to look nonchalant.
‘Well, let’s take a look at your account. Do you have some ID?’
I checked my coat and jean bag once more. ‘I can’t seem to find my wallet. But I brought my kindle.’ I held it up like a trophy as we stared at each other, unsure of who should speak next. ‘I was worried about being bored,’ I said, over explaining as usual. ‘I always bring something to read and I just got a new book from Amazon before I came up here.’
‘Uh huh,’ he said. I get this a lot from sales people. A kind of measured look, like I’m taking a test I’ll never pass no matter how hard I try. I can’t crack the code of people who know how to behave in every situation. Anyway, it took a few days for me to get back there with my phone.
Meanwhile, on the same day, in preparation for doing chores around the house, I plugged in my ear buds, picked a playlist on the phone I’d found in the laundry room and started changing the sheets on my bed. I was busy grooving to the cool sounds of Taka Taka when my ears began vibrating with such intensity, I felt like I was sitting on one of those motel beds from the ’70’s. I stopped moving. Everything was fine. I snapped the sheet in the air and spread it out onto the bed. Suddenly, zap! I looked around. What was going on? I backed away from the bed, but nothing more happened. So I started tucking in the sheet. Zap! Zap!
I ripped the ear buds out, feeling like the unwitting participant in a science experiment. Am I being body snatched? I wondered. Being a writer, I’m open to all kinds of possibilities. This idea, though frightening, was also intriguing. I picked up the next sheet, and as my fingers got a shock, reality set in. I was electrocuting my ears with static.
I’d missed some sleep the night before and I’m always a little zombie-like when that happens. Not brain dead, exactly. Just brain displaced. And my default setting for situational analysis is never very logical. I always prefer the more exotic reason for strange problems. Like aliens. Or rogue government agents planting thoughts into my head. It was actually a little disappointing to realize that plain old static electricity was causing the problem. If you’ve experienced this and you’re inclined to believe in a darker and more interesting theory, perhaps with conspiracy elements, please let me know. I really want to believe that my brain is not the problem.