You know, technology robs correspondence of certain tonal elements. For instance, the script in this message is very even and measured, and the backspace key allows me to erase any hint that my hand is anything but steady as I type this. If this were, say, 1908, I fear my shaking pen could produce nothing but characters only sometimes recognizable as letters in the English language. "Was something wrong with my pal Jess when she wrote this?" you might wonder in your old-timey inner voice. "I can't make hide nor hair of this chicken scratch, see." And you would be rightly interpreting my halting handwriting, for I have just had an encounter. . . WITH LIGHTNING.
So I was on my way home from watching the mind-blowing season finale of Lost at my friends' house, and it was raining pretty good. I'd seen some lightning earlier and even made some stupid comment about standing too close to the metal drainpipe on the side of their house. Oh, how blithely I snarked at mortality!
I drove through the rain squinting for the lines on the road, knowing they must be somewhere under all the reflected city light on the wet pavement. My mind raced with island theories and the first tentative thoughts I'd allow myself to think about the structure of Lost next season.
Fleetwood Mac's Say You Love Me was playing as I pulled up to my place and looked in vain for a parking spot. I think they must be sweeping the next street over tomorrow, because there are twice as many cars on my street tonight. So I circled around and decided to park by the back of the house and try my keys in the back door for the first time since I moved in.
I parked under a big tree and actually thought, "Oh, man, this is so one of those fateful decisions. I'm totally getting struck by lightning." I considered going around to the front door, but it was pouring rain, so I made a quick dash for the back door.
The chorus I'd cut off in the car continued in my head. "'Cause when the lovin' starts and the lights go down and there's not another livin' soul around..." I made it to the back gate and clasped the metal latch. And then every molecule of the air was positively rent with the loudest crack of thunder I've ever heard; at the exact same moment, the night was suddenly white. There was no counting the seconds between the lightning and thunder to determine the distance in miles from from the storm. It was closer than the idea of the word "Mississippi." When I tell you the ground shook, I mean it shook hard enough to set off a car alarm on the street.
"Holy shit!" I shouted, completely disregarding my earlier resolve to be a courteous neighbor and approach to the back entrance quietly. I shoved my metal key into the metal lock and hurried inside, where I stood in my kitchen and shook for a minute. Eventually, I put one foot in front of the other and went to my couch, where I sat and shook for a minute.
My ears have just stopped ringing, and one thing is clear to me tonight: we never know how long we have on Earth. We do, however, know that there are only two more seasons of Lost. Do you know how much that would have sucked if I had gotten struck by fucking lightning before finding out what the hell is going on with that island?