Apr 05


last night it rained and i couldn’t sleep.

the gentle hush of rain and the patter of drops on the tin roof of my storage shed would normally put me to sleep in short order. but last night, i was, for some reason, too restless to sleep.

then it started again. the dripping. the. steady. plop. drop. drip. thunk. of water, not in a random stream of droplets as on the roof or window, but the metronome of dripping water i became so familiar with in an apartment with a leaky faucet a few years back.

my first reaction upon hearing this sound, in the late hours of one night a few weeks ago, was that my brand new roof had already sprung a leak and, because of my expert triangulation of the sound’s location, was leaking water into the space behind the drywall.

fetching a flashlight (and this will come back into the story later) i hurried to the attic and attempted to catch the dripping in the act. after an exhaustive search, i determined that the source of the sound was not, in fact, inside the house at all.

apparently the new roofline had some new drop accumulation points along the edge of the roof that overhangs the wall just outside my bedroom, and one of these was dripping onto the electrical box attached to that wall, hence the hollow thunk when the drips hit in steady succession. or the cable box. or the phone box.

that side of the house is festooned with electrical protuberances, each of which could have been ground zero for plunging droplets.

for a while, i slept soundly, secure in the knowledge that the drips which would occasionally wake me were coming from outside, and were not the harbinger of rotted and crumbling drywall, mold and water damage.

until last night.

restless and already perturbed by my inability to sleep, i determined to go outside and put an end to the dripping – or at least the sound – once and for all. i would find where the drops were hitting and put something, pine straw or leaves, on top to deaden the impact, and hence the sound.

but i’d need some light. so i sought out that same flashlight from the attic expedition. it didn’t work.

neither did my other flashlight – a 30+ year-old boy scout model that takes D cell batteries. i swapped out the batteries, as for some bizarre reason i was able to locate spare Ds before i could find the AAs the other light took. still no good.

oh well, the bulb’s gone in that one. here’s some AAs for the other… crap.

the bulb had blown in both of them, and i had no replacement bulbs. in the end, i went outside with a decorative candle, sheltered under an umbrella, to spot the dripping culprit and put a handful of wet pine straw on it. it was the phone box.

my point, and why i ended up cursing my way back to bed, was that, surrounded by an endless wasteland of computer and other electronic components, technology in all its splendor, i had no way to make light in the darkness outside my door. i can turn on my tv from the other room, or set up a show to record from my computer at work, even over the phone, but i couldn’t fulfill the simplest, stone age requirement of lighting my way in the darkness. at least not without resorting to the stone age implement of fire to do it.

in the end, exhausted and lulled to a deep calm by the remaining comforting sounds of falling water, finally, i slept.

then one of the cats horked up something in the living room…