Today I want to tell you about Murphy. Murphy has been our resident spirit for a number of years now, and he (or maybe she?) likes to do funky things, particularly to electronics, though the shenanigans are certainly not limited to gadgets with microchips, transistors, and the like.
I believe the relationship started with the stereo. One of my daughters was reading quietly in the chair next to the stereo when the thing suddenly went on and nearly BLASTED her out of her seat, it was so loud. We jumped. We laughed. We passed it off as a glitch.
But then there were a few other, similar incidents – alarms not going off or going off at times for which they were not set, other stereos going on and things in that vein.
I can see you now with your knowing look and your shaking head, but we really did check and double check our appliances. We even replaced one or two of them because, perhaps, they were old or broken.
It didn’t help.
I was more irritated than alarmed, until The Laundry Room Incident. It happened when I was home alone. Our laundry room is big enough for me to have a craft desk, and I kept a digital clock there so I could keep track of the time. Now this clock had to share a duplex outlet with the iron, which I always always always unplug when I’m not using. The clock, which was permanently plugged in, got the lower outlet for the sake of convenience. You’re following this, right? Since the plug for the iron goes in and out frequently, it got the top plug so I didn’t have to reach under the other cord, and cords don’t move.
Except this time.
I went into the room, and the clock was blinking. A flicker in the power, right? And it might have been, but the clock was plugged into the iron’s reserved parking space.
I scratched my head, changed it to the lower unit where it belonged, reset the clock, did some laundry, and carried on. Maybe one of the kids had been fooling around and swapped the thing down.
I went in again an hour or so later – still home alone – and darned if the clock wasn’t blinking again! And… darned if the cord wasn’t plugged into the TOP outlet again!
It gave me the willies, I’ll tell you!
Fast forward a month or so. I was sitting at my desk where I had a clear view of the bathroom if I just looked to the left. I was writing away, minding my own business, when the bathroom door started closing.
I looked up at the bathroom window, just to make sure that I was right in believing that it hadn’t been opened (because hello, it was too cold to be open!). It was indeed closed, so I watched the door gently swing shut.
“Well,” I said to myself. “That was a little disconcerting, but it was benevolent. Very quiet. No slamming or window-rattling or sparks or anything.” And I went back to typing, looking sideways at that door from time to time because it was just weird, you know?
And then came another clock story. This one was, oh… a year or two later and not at all unusual. For us. While not at all predictable, things like this happened fairly regularly. Trying to make light of it, we called the events “Murphy” and made jokes. And the kids told their friends that we had a ghost, just to scare them.
So there I was in the kitchen, waiting. Two minutes was all. No, I didn’t set the timer, I can remember two minutes. Two minutes began at 11:19 and my admittedly weak grasp on math informed me that two minutes past that would be 11:21. Right? RIGHT?
Idly, I glanced out the window. There had been some cute little birds hanging around our silver lace vine, and they’re entertaining. I watched them. Briefly. I looked back at the clock — It was digital. Easy to read. It’s –
Very well, the shock was minor. I must have misread, but I couldn’t quite figure out how I mistook a “7” for a “9”; there’s the matter of three entire LEDs. Ah, well, I’ve been wrong before, two or three times in my life. I readjusted my mental picture of two minutes to end at 11:19.
I went back to looking at the yard. The flowers were looking kinda raggedy and someone (Not me, ‘cuz at my house my name is No One) needed go out and deadhead them. It was rather late in the season for them, after all. Hum, de-dum-dum…
Is it two minutes yet?
Another look at the clock. Digital. Did I mention that?
GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY!!!!!!!!!
Okay, well, whichever direction the clock was going, it had been two minutes and I tended to my little chore, all the while keeping a VERY suspicious eye on the clock.
… which calmly and innocently rejoined the regular program.
Mostly it’s quiet around here, and nothing malicious has happened (except the house-egging, and that’s another blog story entirely). It’s been awhile since the stereo turned on spontaneously. Sometimes we lose things that shouldn’t be lost, but they generally turn up again in places that make us look around as if we might actually catch a glimpse of the joker that moved them. I’m probably going to jinx myself by saying this, but I’m really glad mischief hasn’t discovered the smoke alarm…