No attention-grabbing headline today, just the facts. No attempt will be made to be cute or clever. Fact is this will be my sixth try at composing an opening, the all-important lead, for this week’s column. Taking everything into consideration, I think the wisest approach is to play it straight and leave the final reckoning up to you, the reader. Just keep one thing in mind: I may be guilty of embellishment at times or exaggeration every now and again, but CR2S never fibs. Never.
To refresh your memory, last week I reported the return of the Tap Tap Tapper after a near two-week absence; a puzzling turn of events since the strange intrusions had been a nightly occurrence for almost eight months. So when the early morning distractions returned Wednesday and Thursday, there was no real cause for excitement.
Then came Friday, the 14th of September, a date that will live in infinity . . .
At first an initial 2:36 a.m. tapping awakener was treated with “ho-hum” aplomb. I simply jotted down the time on my note pad, turned over and returned to my favorite sleep position: on my stomach, both palms under the pillow with head facing right (so I can breath.) At 3:27 comes the familiar tap-tap-tap but this time not on the door . . . on my right shoulder!!!
As you might guess (or maybe not), first reaction is a groggy awareness turning into a hair-raising chill when I realize I’m in bed alone and there’s no one around! On my honor and mother’s memory, the gentle taps on my shoulder couldn’t have been a dream. I find trying to put the experience into words hard to do. Another revelation: as strange as it may seem, I wasn’t terrified or frightened. But certainly in no mood to ask, “Who’s there?” (Could it have been my wife?)
We’re not talking about a darkened bedroom, mind you, because I keep the bathroom light on, and the door open. I remember touching my shoulder, as if to reassure myself that it happened. I lay awake in a state of bewilderment but somehow finally dozed off. No dreams ensued and I woke up frazzled, not really sure what had transpired only two hours earlier.
The morning interruptions that have since followed are almost inconsequential now, like minor earthquake aftershocks after a big one. If they represent some sort of communication, my challenge now is to figure out the who/what/where/how of it all. At least I’ve reached a comfort level of understanding; quizzical to be sure, but accepting the situation with equanimity. Like Charlie Brown and Lucy.
I reported to you how an electronics expert took more than 30 minutes to eliminate the unwanted cc feature that was plaguing my television set and he couldn’t figure out how the glitch could’ve happened in the first place. Well, folks, lemme tell you about a couple of other preposterous and mystical things that occurred after the shoulder-tap incident.
The same HD LG set cited above is hooked up with Time Warner cable. It has a number of musical channels that I listen to, ranging from pop to country western to jazz. My favorite is Musical Choice 938, songs and singers of the Big Band era. Guess what? All of a sudden it disappeared, kaput, vanished!
You see, I have a habit of switching to music between innings of ballgames or when changing pitchers. I mean, hey, you don’t want to be wasting minutes when time is becoming precious. So you (didn’t) guess: Channel 938 became unavailable; every time I punched my remote I would get 939 instead. And when clicking downward, 937 would come on. Number 938 was nowhere to be found.
This new mystery continued for three days, leading me to think Time Warner had simply eliminated the channel. Later after a rare Dodger victory, I switched from 464 (Prime) out of habit to 398 and, voila, it was back on the dial; and appropriately playing Artie Shaw’s rendition of “Black Magic.”
If that didn’t grab you, this next quirky, unexplainable happenstance is another real doozy: You see, I always have fresh strawberries and cooked bacon in zip-lock bags in my ice box (better known as a refrigerator these days). That’s to ensure I have my favorites every morning, features not offered at KRH breakfasts. On the morning of the 14th (after the shoulder-tapping incident), I opened the fridge to wash and dice the fruit and crumple the bacon before reheating in the microwave. Shocking surprise: They were frozen!
Let’s start with the known fact that I’m not the sharpest knife in the kitchen when it comes to anything mechanical (technical, directional or fixable). Puzzled by the surprising overnight freeze, I sought out maintenance for explanation since it had never happened before. I was told to check the control dial. “It should be set a notch or two past ‘medium,’” he explained. After also being told where this magic dial is located, I checked and sure enough, it was near “maximum.”
Everything is now copacetic since I corrected the setting. Except an explanation of why it happened. The refrigerator had been working fine ever since my move-in date over a year ago. I couldn’t have inadvertently nudged the coolant gauge because I didn’t know where it was! And I hadn’t opened the fridge door since the morning before.
So there you go, people. Whether you want to accept all these eerie events at face value or find them challenging, be my guest. As I told you last week, my only problem these days is trying to determine whether I’m dealing with ghost, specter, phantom, spirit or illusion. I’m convinced it’s not human.
You can call me nuts (or anything else for that matter), but allow me to make a point: It’s a befuddling mystery that I fully expect to solve someday, somehow, some way, and I hereby announce my ebox is open for sleuthing suggestions, the more far-fetched the better. Will review some of those already received next week. They’re almost as interesting and intriguing as the mystery itself.
W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.