We’re still weeks away from the basketball brouhaha known as March Madness. I thought that I would get a jump on things this week and share a few winterly items that a lot of people can relate to, or not.
The first item of business is my discovering the source of the mysterious flashes of blue light in my bathroom. This was a mystery of five years’ duration, and it really bothered me, especially since I had had a stalker once upon a time.
The first thing in the morning when the lights were still out, I would get up and walk to the bathroom. Most of the time, I would see a flash of blue light out of the corner of my eye. When you have been a stalker’s object of desire, your mind turns to spy cameras and sensors.
It isn’t as nuts as it sounds, folks. Anyone who attended Clarion County commissioners’ meetings back in 2012 or so might remember my cell phone’s catchy ringtone. Yep, that was him, every single time.
I digress. Back to the mystery.
One morning during our cold spell in early January, I woke up at about 4 and walked to the bathroom. The blue flash lasted a bit longer than usual, long enough for me to discover its source at last.
The fluorescent bulbs in my vintage wall-hung medicine cabinet glowed for a split second. I can only surmise that the low humidity and my feet scuffling across the carpeting built up enough static electricity to make the bulbs’ beryllium coating glow in the dark.
I am a simple woman, easily amused. The solution to the mystery has had me chuckling for weeks, but not all the time because that would be really odd.
Instead, I have been seeing to the needs of my small collection of air plants, a “thing” back in the 1970s that I somehow missed. Anyway, I am well and truly a hipster now, and the plants are thriving.
I don’t have a pet, and I have made jokes about taking my houseplants out for a walk around the neighborhood. Fortunately, my reputation for being an eccentric is well-developed, and I haven’t had to stoop to this to get attention. But I can if I want to if I put an air plant in my pocket and take it for a ride.
Four of them are quite pretty, resembling the leaves of a pineapple. The other three? I think their relatives appeared in the film Beetlejuice.
No matter. Bought on a rare whim back in the summer, they are revving up to flower. I only know this because I had to read up on the little weirdos.
I have no idea what color the flowers will be, nor even more than a vague idea of what they will look like. What I do know is that people will invent an entire myth about cheap things, and then jack up their prices accordingly.
Now, air plants grow wild in some of the Gulf states and Central America. They festoon trees, powerlines and roof gutters. They are related to pineapples and Spanish moss, and are something on the order of weeds down there.
Is this a great planet or what?
People have taken photos of these things falling from trees and landing on sidewalks. The plants are picked up and nurtured inside as free houseplants.
So, you have to laugh when you start reading the “professional” advice about caring for them. You must remove them gently from where they are hanging and then lovingly ease them into a bowl of spring water once a week. After one hour, exactly, you must remove them, pat them dry and lay them out on a towel for four hours.
This is for plants that are the botanical equivalents of coyotes.
And now for the last item, and a bit of advice. Watch your footing, because there may be ice lurking beneath that fluffy snow. The human face makes a poor substitute for a snowplow, I have found.
I avoid falling and I hope you do, too. Gravity grows stronger automatically once you hit the age of 40 or so. A fall seldom has a happy ending.
Knowing this, I somehow managed to find a stray patch of ice while puttering around my car one afternoon. Without warning, I was hurtling toward Mother Earth. Fortunately, my faceplant ended up in the snowy grass.
If shoveling snow from a sailboat’s deck is strange, you should try looking through white stuff on the inside of your glasses. It is very entertaining, and I’ll just bet that one of the neighbors saw that.
Maybe strolling around the neighborhood pulling a little red wagon full of houseplants isn’t so bad after all.
[Susan Kerr is a semi-retired freelance writer living in her hometown of New Bethlehem. Previously, she was the managing editor of a regional-interest magazine and a business journal in State College.]