Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Square Peg - There’s Something Strange Going On Here

The Square Peg - There’s Something Strange Going On Here
© S. Bradley Stoner

 Image result for poltergeist cartoon

Okay, so as most of you know, I am an extremely practical man. I am firmly grounded in science. No hocus-pocus, spooky stuff for me. All that stuff is hokum. Everything and every event has a scientific explanation, even if it isn’t immediately apparent. The unexplained is simply a reflection of unanswered questions… or questions that haven’t been thought of. Given time and perseverance, an answer will be found.

That being said, there’s some strange sh*t going on in my house… and I haven’t found a cause for it yet. And that’s more than a little frustrating. Now, I’ve lived in a lot of houses… most of them older, and they come with a lot of idiosyncrasies. Lights will suddenly go very bright and suddenly go out. Okay, that, I found, was usually due to a slight power surge right before a fuse blew… which accounted for the lights going out. For all you youngsters out there, before circuit breakers became the norm, houses had fuse boxes. And a couple of old houses I lived in had never been upgraded. Consequently, one kept a flashlight with good batteries and a box of the appropriately sized fuses to remedy the problem.

Old houses also come with a variety of creaks, cracks, and strange whistles. You usually notice them when walking around in the dead of night in your bare feet or when it’s stormy outside. Old houses, especially frame houses, get a little loose over time… loose floorboards, loose joints, and loose windows. Those are generally the cause of creepy noises in old houses that horror film makers are so fond of recreating. Frankly, there’s nothing spooky about them. It’s just a comfy old home showing its age. Kind of like me now… I tend to creak and pop a little when I move about.

This is different. I don’t live in an old house. Matter of fact it’s pretty doggone new and well built. Like most homes here, it has tile and carpeting laid over a floating concrete slab, so no loose floorboards or their associated creaks. It’s a brick house with really tight doors and windows. Heck, you can’t squeeze a thin sheet of paper anywhere around them… so no wind whistling through cracks either. On a particularly windy day you can hear the wind rushing over the chimney, but that’s about it. So, what the heck is making me so nuts? Oh, okay… more nuts than usual. I’ll tell you what it is… my ceiling fan lights light up when I haven’t even touched the remote. The fan quits, then starts, then speeds up, then slows down… again without benefit of my input. It comes on at odd hours. It came on one time at 3:00 a.m. and it woke me up. I hate it when that happens.

And that’s not all. After being absent for a few days, I came back to Alexa belting out “I’m all alone,” and no one was here to program her to come on. Tell me that isn’t just a little on the weird side of the block. I’ve gotten used to her responding to the commercials on TV… you know, “Alexa! Order me pizza!” To which my Echo responds, “What kind of pizza?” Then I have to yell, “Alexa! Cancel order.” Things deteriorate from there.

“Order cancelled.”

“Alexa, you’re stupid.”

“That’s not very nice.”

I used to get into long, derisive conversations with Alexa until I realized that it was making me look stupid. Now, I just pat her on her little blue-lit head and hope she plays the music I request. For a while, I thought Alexa might be messing with me… after all, she does have Bluetooth and, dumb as she is, she might have chanced on the frequency for my ceiling fan. Alas, no. That avenue of inquiry closed when I unplugged Alexa and the bizarre light and fan show continued. So, I set about seeing if any of my neighbors had bought a new ceiling fan, figuring that cost-cutting manufacturers were likely recycling remote to ceiling fan frequencies.

I haven’t found anybody yet, but I haven’t made contact with all of my neighbors. Bingo Bob suggested that I might have a poltergeist, but then he’s from New Jersey and… well, you know. In the meantime, I’ll just keep using my remote to correct the fixture’s errant behavior and wait to hear if one of my neighbors is freaking out over their ceiling fan’s erratic behavior. It’s either that or some smarta$$ in China has developed an app designed to drive American’s to distraction. Although…. Well, Halloween is just around the corner!