Thursday, December 3, 2009

Static Cling to Me

“Damn You!”

Those are the words I shouted this morning as I came in from outside and brushed against the metal door leading into my kitchen. Damn the makers of non-wood doors, people who sell them and husbands who buy them in the name of saving a buck!

If you happened to read a previous post of mine, Words I Like and Don’t, you know I said I rarely curse with swear words and that only a couple of things set me in the mood to do so. I need to add to that list because I forgot the one thing that changes me from an always calm, serene, and clean mouthed person (I hear “Yeah! Sure!” from the Peanut Gallery) to a foul-mouthed trucker with murder in her eyes – static electricity. If I thought garden hoses and closet hangers were invented to annoy me, static electricity is the Big Man Upstairs’s way of finding humor at my expense. I can just see Him looking down on me as He watches with amusement how well he’s trained me like a Pavlovian dog.

Living in the desert, where the air is dry and humidity is practically nil, it’s a breeding ground for static electricity and I believe I am the perfect conduit for generating it. I don’t see others, mainly my own husband, conducting the same OCD (that’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) rituals that I do in order to go about the day. He is oblivious not only to the amount of static in our house and the world outside, or it doesn’t affect him the same way it does me. I have to be vigilant at all times lest I receive a shock that knocks me off of my feet.

You think I exaggerate? That one door in my home isn’t the only culprit. There’s also the space heaters, refrigerator, washing machine, and doorknobs. Getting the mail from our communal mailbox requires me to get out of my car clinging to the metal door, but just the few short steps to the box is enough to generate electricity. Key in hand I go for the box lock and once the two metals touch, a spark shoots out.

Venturing away from home, there are more dangers awaiting me, such as shopping carts and the worst store in town (which also happens to be my favorite for shopping) - Costco. The warehouse environment and metal décor found everywhere from the meat, cheese and milk cases to the conveyor belt at the checkout stand lay in wait for me to reach out and touch them. Sparks fly, I swear and the people around me look on with pity. If you see me in Costco you’ll witness the OCD rituals of hip, arm, hand movements in order to lessen the impact, but it’s usually to no avail as I am traumatized nonetheless by the fear of a shock.

Last night while shopping in Costco I witnessed a woman conducting familiar hand movements before reaching to open the milk case. When she received a static charge I saw the pained expression on her face and felt a bond with her.

I live in fear every time I fill my car with gas. Did you ever see that news report of the woman whose hair went up in flames from a static electricity charge when she touched the gas tank door?

Perhaps I’ve taken this too far, allowing myself to make more of the matter than is necessary. I am a believer in the power of thoughts and that if you think negatively you bring negative to your life. To exemplify this I cite the time that I needed a medical test done to see if I suffered nerve damage from a car accident. What do you think the test entailed? My worst nightmare, that’s what - electric shocks up and down my arms to gauge my nerve responses. I broke out in a cold sweat and reverted to the breathing method taught to me in anticipation of giving birth. Me and static electricity seem destined to interact.

It’s kind of hard to keep a positive outlook when a simple movement results in a painful shock with sound effects such as a loud crack!

It’s called conditioning, something I learned during my time as an animal trainer. So forgive me if I expect to be shocked and exhibit outlandish physical antics to try and prevent the occurrence.

And if you don’t see me for a while, come over to my house and check on me. I may be stuck inside.  I may have become an agoraphobic because I’m afraid to cross the threshold asI’m sure the door is out to get me.


Alan Burnett said...

Oh I so agree with you about static. I too am incredibly prone to it and I seem to suffer badly in places like book shops and libraries. Fun post, Lisa.

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm not a fan of static electricity and I swear that all my shoes are conduits. Rotten little shoes.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

I can't believe you said "damn"! Now you've totally blown your chance of getting into heaven. And now you'll have to spend eternity with me--in the heat.

Ribbon said...


:) Ribbon

Anonymous said...

I have learned to close the door of my truck with my foot so I don't touch it and get shocked EVERY time I get out!!! It's shocking! ahahaha

Valerie said...

Okay this may sound daft but it worked for me. I was told that the clothes we wear are often the conductors. A spot of washing up liquid in the final laundry rinse removes the conductive aspect and hence we are not 'live' to the things we touch. It's worth a try, yes?

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

Valerie, I will try anything! I'll let you know the results. I told my husband he could make a fortune if he could come up with some device that would fix this problem; if nothing else, he would have my undying gratitude!

miruspeg said...

Wow Lisa this only happens to me on windy dry days but can't imagine being zapped all the time.
You are a force to be reckoned with....LOL.
I just googled your problem and there is a device called the StaticOff Zapper Stopper?
Here is the website:

And here is a video about the product:

Hope it is a help for you.

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

Peggy, thank you for the ideas. I tried finding something on the Net but don't recall seeing that product, I'm going to check it out. Yes, it's a big problem here but I'm glad I found a way to make it funny, cuz most times it isn't!