Monday, October 1, 2007
A Shocking Discovery
I accidentally peed in an electrical outlet, when I was seven, and bolts of electricity shot out of it (out of the outlet, that is).
Here's how it happened:
Mom was in the hospital with number four, the last of us siblings. As the oldest, it had become routine, by then, for me to spend the night with various babysitters whenever Mom was in the hospital and having a baby. Dad would keep working, during the day, and be with Mom in the evenings.
One night we had to stay at Mrs. Herschel's. I liked visiting the Herschel family. They had lived in Spain and had a boy, Georgie, who was about my brother's age. Georgie had different and interesting toys and books.
They also had a single bathroom that you would get locked into if you shut the door completely, all the way. It only took one time of getting locked in there for me to vow that I would never, ever use their bathroom again.
Of course, in the middle of the night, I needed to use the toilet. Too risky, though, to enter the inevitable trap that was their bathroom. And no way was I peeing with a bathroom door open. Even at seven, privacy was not optional. I decided to innocently pee in a dark corner of the bedroom that I and my younger siblings were sleeping in. I was sure no one would ever notice.
I crawled back into bed, relieved, and relieved that the dilemma had been so easily solved.
I was rudely jolted out of bed by a terrifying noise. It was like the sound of an angry, syncopated car horn, but ominously metallic, and yet kind of bouncey-rubbery at the same time. Bolts of bright orange-yellow electricity were shooting out of the wall and over my two year old sister sleeping on a floor mattress. I panicked at the thought that she might catch on fire.
"Mrs. Herschel! Mrs. Herschel! The house is catching on fire!" I ran, screaming to her bedroom, to wake her up.
Another bolt of electricity shot out in front of her as she tried to enter the bedroom. After a few minutes, the outlet fizzled and sputtered before becoming completely silent.
When I got back to Mrs. Herschel's house after school, that day, she told me that "the men" had come to check the outlet and that they had fixed it. There was a black, smokey burn staining the corner of the wooden cabinet closest to the outlet.
"They said that something wet had gotten there," she informed me.
"Well, how did that happen?" I asked, trying to put the most guilt-free tone in my voice.
I have known, ever since then, to never get anything wet near anything electrical.