The most telling sign that the winter season encroaches is the return of my latent mutant powers. I didn’t get anything useful like a healing factor or the ability to charge objects with kinetic energy. Instead I was gifted the power of inconvenient static shocks. Yes, I can use these offensively, but the recoil is real. When I roam my house at night it’s essential to discharge excess static on the walls, lest I give myself a true electric shock on any light switch. It happens far too frequently for it to be a joke. It stalks me everywhere. My bourgeoisie seat at work has a microfiber cushion, which results in shocks touching my cubicle, resting my forearms on co-workers’ cubicles, pressing the metal panel on the bathroom door, the elevator button. My life has become a death trap. When I run on the treadmill at the gym I need to discharge excess energy into the wall every two minutes. It’s severe, people have even looked up after hearing the electricity ground itself. If I don’t, I shock myself on the machine. I’ve shocked my trainer by accident once or twice. I’m like a wilder, no formal training to harness the great responsibility saddled with these great powers. Think of all the good I could do if I truly harnessed them. I could wear a onesie as both a costume and means of generating offensive capabilities. I could breakdance to charge up and take down opponents with a spinning b-boy style kick. Folks could call me… The Circuit-Breaker.
I’m stalking my upstairs neighbour through a Facebook group. True story, let me explain. In the two years since I’ve moved into my flat, 6-8 people have come and gone upstairs. I see them infrequently enough that we exchange a friendly conversation when we do chat, but seeing how infrequent that is, the conversation is pretty general. See, I can’t remember who any of them are. I can remember slivers of past conversations, but I’ve got no idea what their names are. That’s not entirely true. I tend to remember the names of the ones I see more often, who are inevitably quick to move out. I feel like the girl currently upstairs has been there for maybe a year and a half. Enough time that I should know her name. I want to know her name because we get a shit ton of mail and most of it is for people who haven’t lived here in the time that I have. Some of them may well have, but I’m that shit with names. It’s not like I’d remember. I just want to unclutter my mailbox, folks.
We have a shed out back where people dump stuff. If things have been left for long enough, a vague squatter’s rights culture is employed. It’s how I got my second shoe rack, my printer/ink/paper and a frying pan. My upstairs neighbour got a bike. It’s basically a magical place where dreams come true. The other day I ran into my upstairs neighbour for the first time in maybe 6 months. She’d broken up with her partner and he’d moved out, so she was reorganising shit in preparation for her friend to move in. We chatted for ages and she told me of her plan to ransack the shed. I said I’d join her in the hopes of finding fun new toys. Unfortunately I wasn’t in the market for a broken kettle, tiles, a couch-bed frame or one of the two coffee percolators. She found a dog gate, some clothing and a few other kitchen items. She’d recently become addicted to a Toronto based trading page on Facebook and planned to offload the items for token, tallboys and the like. She said she’d flick me something for helping. Choice.
So, the stalking thing. My logic follows that if I can find her posts on this group, I’ll be able to figure out her name (because frankly after a year and a half it’d be rude for me to just ask her. Stalking is the polite means of reconnaissance). Once I have her name I’ll know everyone who lives in this house. Once I know that I can sort through our mailbox and have it as clean as possible for all the mail I never get. I guess knowing her name would be handy for conversational purposes, but really, who uses someone’s name when they’re talking directly to them? Weirdos, that’s who.
And The Circuit-Breaker is no weirdo.