Thursday, 5 January 2012

A kind of magic

Afternoon, Lord.

Today has been a bit of a lukewarm sort of day. I have not been firing on all cylinders, because of something that happened last night.  Actually it wasn't last night, it was about 3 o'clock this morning. It was very weird and not something I'd like to happen that often, if you don't mind. 

About 2am I woke up and I wasn't surprised as round these parts we've been having gales and heavy rain and the noise of the weather outside was dramatic. The sort of night where you lie in bed and wonder what damage might be happening in the garden or if the roof tiles and chimney are stuck on properly. (Well, I don't suppose you do, but we mortals have these concerns).

So I was awake and I glanced at the clock only to find that it wasn't there. Well, it was still there but I couldn't see it because its digital display had gone. More groping about revealed no bedroom light, no lamps, no electricity. As I pondered this I noticed that I could hear music, and assumed that it was one of our neighbours who has a tendency to play his CDs too loudly. I have no idea why but I decided to go out onto the landing and it was then that I realised that the music wasn't coming from outside the house, but inside, somewhere. My first thought was that it was the children (how were they playing music with no electricity?) but as I walked past their bedrooms it was clear that the sound was coming from downstairs. 

Using the light from my phone to navigate (despite having a torch in the bedroom drawer) I went downstairs in the dark, trying lamps and light switches as I went. The music was coming from the kitchen, and it was loud. No wonder I could hear it upstairs. My iPod was playing. To be specific, it was playing Queen's 'It's a Kind of Magic' and it was playing it quite loudly. No other electricity was working, but the iPod, on it's dock, was playing away in the dark in a deserted kitchen and in a particularly spooky sort of way.

As you know, Lord, because you made me this way, adrenalin was coursing round my body at that point as I stood in my pyjamas in the dark in a house where everyone should have been asleep. 

Was this the work of a burglar who'd seen too many films and was luring me downstairs? Why would he play the iPod rather than nick it?  Why on earth would music be playing in the middle of the night? I tried the doors but they were locked. Windows closed. Valuables seemed where they belonged. Heart beating like crazy.

I whipped the iPod off it's stand and silenced it and then looked around. The digital display on the cooker and microwave were flashing, so the electricity had been off and come back on again. Further investigation in the cupboard under the stairs revealed that a switch in the fuse board had tripped. I flipped it back on and the second frightening moment was when the whole house leapt back into life. The computer beeped, the printer sort of revved up and did some exercises, the DVD player beeped and blinked, the phones all chippered and even the shower made some strange noises. Every room seemed to be beeping or flashing or whirring. I scurried back to bed. 

Not going back to sleep for a while after that. 

I might as well have downed a couple of espressos because I was so wide awake after that little adventure. I worked out that the electricity must have gone off for a while, and then come back with such a rush or a spike or something that it tripped the fuse for part of the house. The surge back on must have somehow switched on the iPod even though the iPod dock was still part of the house that was out of electricity.

'It's a kind of magic'. Ha! The ghostly voice of Freddie Mercury uninvited in my kitchen in the small hours was telling me it was magic. It might not have been magic, but it was certainly very odd. 

Electricity is a bit magical, when you think about it. My husband has a Masters degree in Electronics, among his many and varied qualifications, and so he understands it much better than I. I like to turn on the kettle and have it boil water for my coffee, or turn on the bedside light when I want to see what I'm doing, or switch on the music - when I want it to play, rarely at 2am - and I'm happy not really to grasp how and why it does what it does. He understood what had happened straight away when I told him. But to me, it was strange indeed. 

I am sure that there's a lesson to be learned here somewhere. Maybe about the unpredictability and power of electricity and a parallel with your good self? I accept that the lights come on when I flick a switch and grumble when they don't, without needing to know why or how. Maybe I should stop asking you for so many answers about what you do and don't do? We depend on you, even more than we do on the electricity.  You, like the lecky, are always there humming along in the background. Only occasionally do you intervene, and then, like electricity, you tend to get our full attention. 

However, if you ever stopped being or went offline for a while I suspect more would happen than a few flashing lights and beeping gadgets. I think we all might cease to exist. 

But maybe that's an analogy too far, is it? After all, many people manage quite well without electricity, and in the history of the world nobody has managed that well without you.

So, to summarise.

Thankyou for being there last night/this morning.

Thankyou for accompanying me downstairs when I'm not a great fan of the dark. 

Thankyou that my unsettling experience was really nothing; there was no actual danger even though my body took a while to accept that. 

Thankyou that you're always there to be called upon for help and moral support. For your faithfulness in life's little adventures.

Thankyou for the strange and complex things that happen in our bodies at times like this to enable us to do things even when we're afraid. 

So that was how me and you came to have a little chat at 3am. Or actually a number of little chats between 2am and 4.30am. It was a good job we did, to be honest, because at 7am when the alarm went off I was so tired I was pretty much beyond all coherent conversation. 

An early night tonight, I think. 

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