It was sometime around 5:30 a.m., during a time in which I decided that extra-natural forces were afoot in my house, that I decided to re-start this blog. I had gotten up at 5 a.m., well before any hint of light in the eastern sky, for a last ditch ever to finish a story that had bedeviled me for weeks.
Five a.m. is still lights out in my home. Maybe 45 minutes away from my son, age 6, the quintessential morning person, rousing me awake with his daily "Daddy, can you play with me?" It's an hour or more away from any sign of wakefulness from my wife. Peace. The street outside is equally quiet. The only noise I will hear will come from the automatic sprinklers on the front lawn. And so, of course, I step into my office, close the door, flip the light switch, and hear that worst of all possible noises. That electrical energy noise, the last little death throw of spark, and the bulb blinks out.
I don't actually NEED the goddam light. The glow from the 21-inch CRT monitor on my AMD X2 Dual Core 4800+ gaming computer casts more than enough illumination to see the keys on my Acer notebook, the computer on which I do all of my work. But I know I'll forget and get up every five or seven minutes or so to turn on the light switch and only then remember that the bulbs are dead. I'm like that when I'm writing. ('Ah, great line! Rolling now! Say, why am I sitting in the dark?') Besides, I already had a bulb. There are two bulbs up there on that most ancient fixture of our 103-year-old house. One died some time ago, but in my infinite laziness, I had managed to do no more than move a new bulb into the same room with the one that needed to be changed, content to endure dim light until both were out.
At 5-ish in my slumbering house, desperate to keep it that way for as long as possible, the bulb is a Godsend. I balance on my busted office chair, and twist the new bulb into place. Within five minutes: deja vu. Fzzzt. Spark. Darkness.
This is where those extra-natural critters come in. Oh, there was nothing there, really, but it was fun for a moment to imagine that some kind of entity was fracking with me mightily at that moment and really needed a piece of my mind. I came up with nothing imaginative, equally desperate in another way at that moment to preserve all dwindling amounts of creativity for my story. So, about 25 slightly above a whisper yet viciously enunciated 'F**K YOUs" did it for me, replete with various finger gestures designed to mimic the exploratory medical probing of both the traditional male and female body forms.
If you ever want to see something funny, try watching someone National Football League sized like me tiptoeing the entire length of my house because--of course--the goddam light bulbs are in a cabinet at the back of the house and my office is in the front.
The goddam childproofed cabinet, which the plastic lock on it with the serrated teeth which is of course impossble to open witout some noise.
Managed it. Guessed on the bulb. Back to the office. Guessed wrong. 25 watts. Goddam refrigerator bulb. Back to the rear of the house. Mr. Disaster Preparedness here with no access to a flashlight without waking someone up. Guessed again. Bigger bulb this time. Back to the office. Guessed wrong, again. (Few more F**K YOUs, but not as satisfying.) 150 watts. Abulb like that on those wires, and the house would spontaneously combust. Back to the rear of the house again. Another guess. 100 watts this time. Adequate. Light! Back to work.
The worst thing that can happy to a carefully reported story is to have a bunch of other stories rise up and take precedence. Now, the notes are a month old. I can't even read some of my notes because I was walking at the time or in a moving vehicle. It makes it hard to summon the moment. The writing creeps along. And then of course, nature intervenes.
Young gamers today have a term for needing to hit the old head, rest room, bathroom, whatever. They call it a bio break, which is just perfect because anything else I just don't need to know and falls under the heading of Too Much Information.
If I am playing my Hero on the the MMORPG City of Heroes, in a group with other heroic sorts from all over the world, I really don't need to hear that one member of my super posse needs to pee or--even worse--is going to do the old number two pencil.
I don't care what superhero you followed as a child. Not one of them ever said ''Scuse me, gotta go pee.' Didn't happen. I guess the super power specs also included Super Bladders, able to hold vast amounts of...well...pee...for hours on end or until justice had been dispensed. Or they had Super Will Power. Whatever. At any rate, my story not yet finished, I had to take an extended bio break.
It was at that moment that my son, who had shown remarkable restraint until that moment, decided to come into the bathroom to ask if I could come play with him.
I'm not like my dad was. I play with my son almost every morning before work. I play with him when I get home. I play with him during dinner. I play with him before he goes to bed. So, I really don't feel too badly when I have to tell him I can't, that there is more work for me to do.
But "the story" had prevented me from playing with him the night before, a night in which he announced that he wished there was no such thing as work or any such thing as "downtown," since both happen to interrupt my time to play with him.
Two denials in a row was, of course, more than my son could take. In that marvelous way six year olds have or being completely unable to mask their emotions, he plopped down on the stool he uses to see in the mirror to brush his teeth and sobbed.
After about five minutes, I had talked him down off his bad mood. By now it was well after 8 a.m., about the time my editor sometimes signs online to see what progress has been made, and my story still wasn't done.
Finally, it was. I had five minutes to run a bath. I had two minutes to actually sit in the bath. Okay, it was three minutes. It was so relaxing, that I stole a minute. Fracking sue me, okay? I counted down the final 60 seconds in my head.
Now, I'm at work, about to get my second coffee of the day. Groove Salad on SOMA-FM is jamming another cinematic instrumental (Group: Lemongrass; Track: 'Feel Good'; Album: Space Night 9), and my boss hasn't complained once about the story that was about as close as I will ever come to experiencing the agony of givng birth to a child.
I am blogging again...and a big F**K YOU very much to anyone who says I shouldn't.