It is so amazing when this happens. And yesterday, it happened twice. Which, due to its unfortunate rareness, does not make it twice as amazing. It makes it virtually miraculous.
I’ll begin with the easy one.
There was a bulb burned out on one of our ground floor ceiling lights. My familial assignment – along with eliminating spiders – is to unscrew the burnt-out lightbulbs throughout the house – “throughout the house” making the job sound more significant than it actually is – and replace the dead lightbulbs with lightbulbs that light up. (Doing it the other way around is supremely unhelpful. That’s not from experience. Some things you just know.)
The bulb-changing procedure itself is relatively simple. A capable monkey could handle it. Lacking an available monkey, the responsibility falls to yours truly.
This time, however, there is a tiny glitch.
Executing the bulb-changing operation requires a small stepladder. We have one of those; I have used it many times before, changing lightbulbs. At this moment, however, we have no idea where it is.
Dr. M recently took the stepladder outside to pick some grapes from the overhanging pergola we had asked our gardener to wrap the vines around. And no one had seen hide nor hair of it since.
This is the opposite of the stories I am telling today. This is a “stuff mysteriously disappears” story, with no conceivable explanation as to where it has gone, a genre I do not care for, any more than I care for its opposite, stories where there are numerous explanations for some occurrence and no indisputable answer as to which explanation is correct. In both cases, the resultant sensation is…
“Hold me. I’m in a scary world I do not understand.”
No one enjoys this precarious uncertainty. (Or am I just speaking for myself?)
I recruit a chair from the kitchen table, placing it directly under the defunct light bulb. I climb onto the chair. I reach way up, my reach becoming an uncomfortable stretch, because the seat of the chair is lower than the top rung of the missing stepladder. (I do not wish to make this action more dramatic than it is, but after a certain age, a hyper-extended stretch leads to an immediate chiropractic phone call for an “adjustment.”)
Barely grasping the lifeless light bulb, I meticulously unscrew it, and I replace it was a fresh one. I descend from the chair, I flip the appropriate wall switch…
… and the bulb immediately comes to life!
The effect is quasi-Biblical in its intensity.
“Va y’hee or v’ haya or. (“Translation, for the Hebraically challenged: “Let there be Light; and there was Light.”)
At that moment, I could imagine how God felt after a similar accomplishment, His achievement personified by a struttingly confident,
“Still got it.”
That’s an extraneous, albeit rewarding, side issue. The significant point here is this:
On this achingly infrequent occasion, a situation has worked out exactly the way it is supposed to; well maybe not “supposed to”, but the way you hopingly want it to. There is a procedure for handling a problem, you carry out that procedure… and it works.
In a world of stepladders that go “Poof!”, I cannot over-emphasize how satisfying that is.
And then yesterday, it happens again.
Learning of the saddening passing of Garry Marshall, I wanted to post that wonderful scene from Albert Brooks’s Lost In America, to remind you of his (now unavailable) specialness, and parenthetically cheer myself up.
Accessing YouTube, I click on “Safari”, where I am confronted with the dreaded:
“You Are Not Connected To The Internet.”
After following the protocol I have been drilled in for retrieving the Internet – unplugging the modem before unplugging the router, then plugging the modem and router back in in that particular order, which I do again and again, believing that if doing something is unhelpful once you do the same thing over and over until it works (it being the only option you have besides swearing at the machine) – I finally throw in the towel and call Matt, who takes care of our computers..
Matt arrives that evening, and, after some diagnostical concentration, he announces,
“Your router is broken.”
I immediately hear two things – one revealed in a code Matt has no idea he is speaking.
My simultaneous translation of “Your router is broken” is:
“What happened was not your fault.”
To which my reaction is,
Second, reflected in Matt’s going down to his car and returning with a replacement router which he installs and the Internet’s immediately back up, is a repetition of the earlier in the day’s
“Va y’hi or, v’haya or.”
The performed “miracle” had occurred once again. A thing is broken, you execute a simple maneuver… and it’s fixed!
Can you imagine how exhilarating that is? Why? Because for one glimmering moment – or in the case of yesterday, two glimmering moments…
The world worked the way you wish it would always work – predictably and successfully.
Now, if we could just find that missing stepladder.
Yup. There’s me, wanting perfection.
Discontent with an unparalleled “Two-out-of-three.”
Still, the thing has to be somewhere, doesn’t it?
I mean it only makes sense.