Monday, November 22, 2010

Tangled String Theory

Today is probably the last warmish of the year. Nearly 70° F. in places, though overcast all day. A strong thunderstorm blew through at about 4 pm, inspiring the bonus sound effect of the city's tornado siren: waaaaaaaa. Turned out rare November tornadoes had been spotted in southeastern Wisconsin and not-too-far-away Illinois. Guess that's close enough to trigger the siren here.

Sunday was also November gray, but October or even September warm and not rainy, so I strung Christmas lights on one of the bushes in the front yard. I'm not going to light them until December 1 or later -- I'm funny that way -- but at least I won't have to deal with stringing them when it's freezing outside. One year the prospect of freezing fingers delayed stringing the lights quite a while. Until the next year, in fact.

Compared with some other houses on the block, I'm just making a token effort: two strings on one bush. Some years back, I don't remember when, I gave up on stringing lights any place reachable by ladder, which cuts down on the display. We used to have a small plastic snowman with a small light bulb in his thorax (the middle sphere) but I'm not sure where he is now. An interdimensional matter sink -- a small one -- probably opened up somewhere out in the garage, and that got him.

There's an Andy Rooney-like commentary possible in my experience with untangling the light strings. Or any string-like item I ever encounter: garden hose, electric extension cords, package string, thread, yarn, and so on. Namely, whenever I handle one, it instantly tangles itself in hard-to-fathom ways. Jumps at the chance to tangle. Tangles as if it weren't inanimate, but alive and with an urge to tangle as strong as a primate's urge for nooky.

Years ago I had the opportunity to visit a tall ship, an Indian Navy training vessel, of all things. I noticed to my amazement that none of the rigging or other lines were tangled. If it had been my ship, an impossible mess of tangled rope would have hung from the highest spar to the main deck.

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