Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Two Days, Two Ways

... to be an Idiot

Some kinds of bloopers are merely annoying and/or embarrassing, as when you lock yourself out of your car or discover, at the check-out, that you didn’t put your wallet back into your handbag. And some mistakes, like getting drunk, are fun for a while and you do them on purpose, but afterwards is when you know for sure they were really stupid. I’ve done one of each in the past two days.

I pulled that latter sort of a stunt a couple of nights ago – without even benefit of alcohol. You see, my new toys arrived and I’m addicted to them already. Yes, I spent way more money than I like to admit on stuff to construct a marble run. You know, build a contraption, drop a marble into the top of it and it rolls down its course, preferably doing all sorts of amusing things along the way, such as toppling dominos, turning a millwheel, rolling over chimes, ringing a bell, swirling around in the funnel. The set consists of special, interlocking, wooden blocks with various shapes of channels carved into them, plus tracks as in a train set, plus a bag of marbles.

So I was fascinated, entranced, challenged. I had bought not one, but two such sets, plus various accessory gadgets, and I set out to use every single track and block and gizmo in the most complex set-up possible. Naturally, that requires some learning, some testing, a lot of thinking; in other words, a lot of fun.

I began after supper. When I noticed the clock, it was midnight already. Okay, okay, so I’ll go to bed, I said to myself, right after I figure out this one more thing.

Next time I remembered to check the clock, it said 3:30. No use going to bed now; there wouldn’t be enough time to be worth it. I kept working until Demetrios got up, at 6:30, and came looking for me. I prepared his breakfast, kissed him goodbye, and kept right on working. Until time to cook supper again, 5:00.

That’s when I realized I had not only been awake some 36 hours, I had also spent most of that time, all night and all day, standing up! (The contraption was on the dining room table, and had quickly grown too tall to work on sitting down.)

I limped upstairs immediately after supper, soaked my sore body in a hot bath, and slept 12 hours.

Two days later, my feet have recovered, but my back is still sore. And the cats have knocked down the tower I had built.

What if I had been that absorbed in God, to stand all night (which I’m frankly shocked is even possible for me) praying, let alone all day, and never even notice the time passing?

The second blooper was of the embarrassing sort. I happened to glance out my window toward the next door neighbors’ house. There was white smoke pouring out of the back of it. Neither of their two cars was there, so I knew nobody was home. Well, what would you have done? What should you do? Here are your choices:

  1. Nothing; it’s none of your business.

  2. Go over there to check things out a bit before raising an alarm.

  3. Call 911 immediately; every second counts.

The correct answer is (2). Go over there. Take your phone with you.

But I chose (3) because here was my chance to be a hero. Furthermore, it was pouring rain and I didn't want to go out in it. In other words, I acted from passions, which always have a way of clouding our judgment, mocking us, making us look ridiculous.

The lady at the other end of the emergency line made me go over there anyway, but it was too late. The fire trucks arrived at the same time I did, and the police too. Only to discover that the “smoke” was hot air venting from the neighbors’ clothes dryer and turning to steam in the cold air outside.

The only good thing is, the neighbors really weren’t home, so they didn’t know anything about it until that evening, when I told them.

Hint from Helen: Steam is white. Smoke from a fire is likely to be gray or black.


Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Marble run kits are utterly addictive.
We used to have one.

I got rid of ours in the end and took up blogging :-)

Christopher D. Hall said...

I did the first kind just now...I think I ran a red light on the way back to church. I took off and looked back, noticing that nobody else was going. Saw someone making a left turn in front of them. Then they went...and there is a traffic camera at that intersection. We'll see what shows up in the mail.


Anonymous said...

I took off and looked back, noticing that nobody else was going. Saw someone making a left turn in front of them. Then they went...and there is a traffic camera at that intersection. We'll see what shows up in the mail.

Emily H. said...

Oooo! Can we come over and play at your house?!

Although you may not want that. The last time the kids played with a marble run, the glass on the oven door got broken! (The funny part is that my dad broke it trying to retrieve marbles the kids sent skidding under the stove. I guess there are hazards in everything! Be warned!)

Christopher D. Hall said...

Been thinking about this story more, Anastasia, and find it deeply funny and too painfully like me, too.

The image of you being obsessed with a marble tower cracks me up. It's such an unusual hobby--though they are really cool. The thought of standing up working on it uninterrupted is just amazing.

But it hurts because I could do the same thing with computer games or computer tinkering. Never done it for that long, but I have spent 10-12 hours getting a wiki set up on my webspace--not just any wiki, but one based on the very robust wikipedia software. Why? To see if I could do it.

Thank you for sharing this.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Thanks, all of you, for making me feel better! And to you, Elizabeth, for understanding, and for you, Pr. Hall, for finding it deeply funny (which yes, it is, I suppose!) and painful all at once. Emily, come on to my house any time and bring Evelyn and Dominic and we'll all play with the ultimate marble run!

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

P.S) A wiki of your own? REALLY? I'd love to see it!