Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Moderately Mysterious Ticking Noise

The elephant is ticking again.

This only happens at certain hours of the day, because of where the window is and how the seasons work.  It took me a while to figure that out, though.

There I’d be, working away in my office on some misbegotten academic task, when gradually I would become aware of a Mysterious Ticking Noise.  Having raised children in this century, this immediately made me think of the Harry Potter Puppet Pals and forced me to start singing about Severus Snape, which those of you in similar situations will understand but which does nothing to encourage the completion of the original misbegotten academic task.

The ticking goes away on its own, though, so usually I’d just ignore it until it did.  I figured if it were a bomb there wouldn’t be anything I could do about it, and I do have deadlines to keep after all.

One day I decided to investigate – there is only so much singing about Severus Snape that one can do before you actually start hoping there is a bomb so you can stop – and discovered that the source of all this ticking was a small plastic elephant that had somehow migrated to the top of the coat storage system that we installed in the mudroom in a fit of home repair some years ago.

It sits just below the window, and when the sun reaches just the right angle – usually in the mornings, when I’m home alone, though the exact point in the morning varies depending on what point of the calendar we happen to be traveling through – the light will shine onto the little solar panels built into the elephant’s hide.

The net result of this is that, through a complex alchemy known as “too many engineers with not enough to do,” the elephant’s ears and trunk will begin to bob up and down at about a standard rock tempo.  They’ll keep doing that until the afternoon, when the sun slides over the roof of the house and the window falls into the shadow of the eaves.

So I do my work to a back beat now.

Snape.  Snape.  Severus Snape.  (Dumbledore!)


Unknown said...

Glad to hear it was nothing more serious than the elephant in the room!

David said...

I've tried to ignore it, but that's harder to do than common wisdom would have you believe. ;)

Lee I said...

Hum new musical compositions to the beat. I did that during some MRIs once and found it much more relaxing than trying to ignore it.

The captcha for this is actually readable with the human eye!

David said...

I do that sometimes, though usually not original compositions. It works!