Kage Baker was wont to remark, wisely, that stuff just happens. She (also wisely) didn’t specify precisely what kind of stuff happened, because, really – you just never know in advance. And with us, it could always be really wild things …
Like the day a pelican ran head-first into the power line outside the living room window, clothelining itself. It snapped the power line and then crashed head first into the side of the house; the poor pelican, of course, dropped dead into the Mr. Lincoln rosebush with a snapped neck, and the power went out all over our block for several hours.
Or the day a bulldozer was returning to the City of Pismo’s Corp yard, after being down on the winter beach piling up berms to prevent the January seas from eating the boardwalk. Trundling along with its blade up, like a good responsible bulldozer, it inadvertently caught the power line – the same one that ran right up to our cottage, again – and snapped it. Again. But this time, it also yanked the line so hard that it pulled the power pole over on to our garage; then, as the ‘dozer tried to extricate itself, it pulled the power poles, one by one, over like ninepins along the next mile of Highway 1 where it runs out of Pismo … we had run out of doors when the pole hit our garage, and so were granted a clear view of the poles toppling like a Roadrunner and Coyote cartoon, into the distance.
Another night by candlelight, and Kage running down the battery on her Buke. It was the delay and interruption to her work that made her most especially nuts at times like this: because, naturally, they always happened when she was racing a deadline.
Then there was the night, in a nor’-wester gale off the Pacific 2 blocks away, when we were awakened by the sound of a giant tea kettle. After running around and listening at all the windows, we finally figured out that we were hearing – over the roar of the storm – the sound of something venting steam furiously in the laundry room below our apartment. With my wool anorak over my nightgown, I went downstairs in the rain and wind to discover our water heater was upon point of blowing up. That would have been interesting, and would have launched the heater like a missile right through Kage’s bedroom floor … by the time it was disarmed (desperate work with a wrench in the dark) I was up to my knees in hot water and drenched to the skin, but we were no longer at DefCon 1. But we were heating all our water on the stove for a week, waiting for a replacement …
A possum hiding under the bedroom bookcase. An invasion of huge red crawdads on the front lawn. A baby starling falling through the ceiling on to Kage’s desk. The engine of our VW bus bursting into flame at a stop sign, and cremating both itself and our favourite cafe’s canopy one morning on the way to work.
Stuff. It just happens. And it’s no use trying to anticipate it, because what happens to US is always as weird as snakes’ suspenders.
Well, now it’s mostly just me it happens to, of course; although my family and Dear Readers (my hostages to fate, you all are) tend to get sideswiped when the Furies run me over. So, this is by way of an apology.
I’m presently waiting for various tests (renal scans, etc.) to determine the current state of my evil right kidney. I hardly care what happens, as long as it solves the problem and this situation ends – I’ve been fighting systemic infections for 3 weeks, and I am tired of it. The unnatural summer heat in Los Angeles – a terror to me in past years – is nicely under control this year, so why do I have to have some new disaster instead? It’s not fair.
Windows 10 has not been an instant success with my computer; but I do think I’ve got it under control now – and without giving Microsoft access to my private files. I missed WorldCon due to infections, but I also missed the burning of all the countryside between Seattle and Spokane that happened that weekend: so my lungs were spared, at least. WordPress, the stalwart platform that supports this very blog, has decided to initiate all sorts of new new NEW FEATURES – which have locked me out for the past 3 days, but it’s under control now. Sort of.
If this missive vanishes into the aether like yestreday’s, I plead betrayal by malignant spirits. So, if any one of you Dear Readers don’t see this – let me know, okay?
That’ll make as much sense as any of the other stuff that happens around me …
Thanks for the update. We worry out here in Kateland when blog silence descends. I’ll keep the positive thought for good news.
I need a Stuff Motel. Something to trap the weirdnesses before they can bite me in the ass.
I’m impressed by your correct usage of DEFCON 1 to describe your situation of imminent water heater disaster. Many people think DEFCON 4 means all Hell is about to break loose when what it actually means is, “Hey! Things are starting to get kind of bothersome.”
Thank you. I always like to get my jargon correct, you know? Especially when disaster description is so important in my life …