Saturday, May 3, 2003

undue significance

7:53 PM – Nearing the end of a blissfully uneventful several hours, the body of my first day off from work in ages. I thought I might sit down for a portion of this time and write a real entry, something more intelligent than the half-assed throwoffs that have been all I can muster at the ends of recent twelve- and fourteen-hour shifts, but all I’ve done is lay around dormant all day, warming the sofa, and now the hour that my wife Holly returns home from her own work shift is fast approaching, when she’ll find that I’ve accomplished none of the tasks I’d planned to take down. Kitchen a disaster, dishes unwashed, trashcan overflowing and ditto the litterboxes (thank God the vacuum is broken or I’d never get it all done). And speaking of the cats (sort of), I’ve discovered that one or more of the ungrateful bastards has been mistaking my lp collection for a scratching post, inspiring me to grind their furry carcasses into chum with the garbage disposal. Fortunately for them, I don’t have the time. And unfortunately for you, here’s another half-assed throwoff.

About nine months ago the light in the ventilation hood over our stove went out. We used to leave this light on at night so that the aforementioned bastard cats could see their food and so, if Holly or I stumbled downstairs at 3am in desperate need of cookies & milk or something, we wouldn’t have to suffer the wicked glare of the overhead. Then, just as we came to depend on it, the blasted thing went out.

Like a good domesticated manchild, I attempted to change out the bulb and renew our nightlight. However, try as I might, I could not figure out how to get inside it. That seemingly innocent stove hood presented a maddening puzzle for which I could find no solution. After several days of poking and prying and cursing bruised fingertips, I finally gave up.

Then, just a few weeks ago, I went into the kitchen for a drink. As I opened the cabinet to retrieve a glass, the corner of the cabinet door struck the hood, and lo and behold, the light came on. I was awestruck, then giddy—I gleefully ran over to the wall switch and turned off the overhead light just so I could better enjoy the hood’s gentle illumination. I got close, dared to switch it off, then on, then off and back on again. It worked perfectly. Holly won’t believe this, I thought, and switched it off one last time. My plan was to wait until she arrived home, bring her into the darkened kitchen, tell the story slowly and suspensefully, and then, at the moment of truth, click!, I’d share the magic.

Which is exactly what I did. I played it up to be the most wondrous of miracles, and then, as dramatically as possible, I reached for the switch. Click!

Nothing. The hood stayed as dark as the rest of the room, and it hasn’t worked again since.

You may be thinking what a pathetically uneventful life I must lead that such inconsequential nonsense excited me so, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Perhaps that’s the lesson I should be taking from the stove hood. I had thoughts of using the event as a metaphoric standby for years to come, applying it conveniently to any situation wherein I thought someone was trying too hard, etc. I’m bad about such stuff, tagging meaningless little incidents with undue symbolism or significance. Still can’t stop thinking about it, though.

Oh, and speaking of undue significance: there have been two earthquakes in Georgia over the past few weeks. Yeah, Georgia. The first was just outside Athens, where I live, and the other nearer Atlanta, about forty miles away. Both registered relatively high on the Richter scale (4.7 and 4.9, I believe), and both struck in the middle of the night. In neither instance did the earth’s grumblings manage to wake me up.

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