Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Freaky Friday

No, Jodie Foster does not appear in this blog post. Though it'd be really cool if she did.  I mentioned Annie Lennox once and got something like a thousand hits, which considering this blog is read by maybe two or three people is just amazing. So mentioning Annie Lennox and Jodie Foster in the same blog post might just break the Internet.  No, I'm talking about last Friday, during which a storm of Biblical proportions hit Dallas right around rush hour and lightning hit my building (!!).

 I've had at least one close encounter with lightning before, that I can remember.  I was driving on a Sunday and the hair started to stand up on the back of my neck and then lightning hit the building I was driving past.  It was loud and scary, but I was moving so there really wasn't a lot of danger.  I mean, even God has trouble hitting a moving target.  Ask those bagpipers who played while marching up and down the beach on D-Day and tell me if I'm wrong.

Anyway, I was at my desk on the second floor.  Minding my own business.  Typing away.  The thunderstorm is pounding overhead.  Then suddenly the brightest light I've ever seen in my life comes screaming through the windows.  You know those big spotlights they use to advertise theme parks and attractions and whatnot?  Well, it was like somebody pointed two or three of those babies right in the window. My hand was out, and I was looking at it, and I could see the bones inside my hand.  Like in an X-ray.  And my first thought, even before the What is that bright light? and the And holy crap, what's that noise?! was how little they are.  I mean, finger bones are just tiny.  They're like less than a third the width of the actual finger.  I mean, I know there's connective tissue and muscles and stuff like that all around them, and skin overtop, but seriously, they just seemed so small.  How do they hold together and keep your hand from, I dunno, just falling apart?

Oh, and here's an interesting detail.  I had on fingernail polish, like I usually do.  And on the longest ends of the fingers, where the fingernails were, I couldn't see the bones.  Just below that and extending back into the hand.  It was like the fingernail polish made the fingers opaque.

Did I mention the noise?  I mean, we've all heard thunderclaps, and they can be loud, but this sound sounded like the world splitting open about an inch from my ear.  I think it was the sound of the actual air being ripped apart to make way for the lightning bolt, which was of course miles long, and then slamming back together again a nanosecond later. I probably jumped two feet.  My ears rang for 10-15 minutes afterward.  Loudest sound I've ever heard in my life.  Definitely it was move over, Manowar.  But it only lasted, again, about a nanosecond.  Then the thunderclap.  Which was also pretty damn loud.

The power was knocked out immediately.  Everything went dark.  (And I was right in the middle of an email, and now I can't remember who it was to, or why I was writing it.  Hope it wasn't important.)  When it seemed safe to stand up I made my way to the stairs and down to the lobby.  The receptionist yelled at me to come over to where she was.  I did, and she pointed out the front door to the crack in the pavement next to the metal bench, from which small tendrils of smoke were still rising.  She'd actually seen the thing hit about 10-15 feet away.

Well, after about 15 minutes of everyone standing around in the lobby and several cell phone calls to the power company, the manager announced that it'd be 7 or 8 in the evening before we got power back, and that was only if the fuse box was still intact.  (It was.)  So the group began to dissipate.  I made my way out into amazing traffic, crawling through puddles of two-foot-deep water to get downtown to pick Joan up from the library.  My recently-electrified status does not seem to have affected my driving. I still won't go over 40 mph on wet pavement, much to the dismay of people behind me. (The problem with Texas freeways is having to share them with other Texans.)

So anyway, that's my hit-by-lightning story.  I'm glad the bolt didn't actually pass through me, because I did some research afterward about lightning-related injuries and it doesn't sound fun.  Besides, I was accidentally electrocuted as a kid (house current levels) and that wasn't fun either.   Remember, without eternal vigilance, this could happen to you.  Oh, and here's a link to a company I have no relationship with whatever, that claims it can install a house size surge protector to protect your electronic equipment from a lightning strike.  I have no idea if it actually works, but for $200 to $500 it's probably worth trying. Cheers, all.