At home in Oregon static electricity never seemed like much of a problem. We routinely ignore the sticker warnings to “Discharge Static Before Pumping Gasoline!”, and chuckle at the occasional spark from dragging our feet across the carpet, but for some reason here, in the Arizona desert, static electricity is serious business. Some fella I met at Wal-Mart was saying (and you want to listen to Wal-Mart people) it is the wind combined with the dry desert air that makes static here, such a force to be reckoned with.
On top of this local electric phenomenon, you can add the fact that I’m prone to being pretty charged up anyway, and stuff just happens! Twice I have knocked out the furnace thermostat, and once I shut down my laptop with an innocent finger that suddenly touches off hellfire.
The worst is when I slide across our dinette cushion – by the time I stand up I am sizzling static. Being absent-minded about this, I often step over to give my dear innocent wife a well-deserved kiss. As our lips touch there is an audible “CRACK!” so loud you could hear it from another room. Suddenly an affectionate moment turns ugly – she instantly responds as if I planned some kind of assault on her lips. This forgotten, an hour later I stand up from the same dinette. Debbie is bent over the sink washing her hair. Passing by I give her a buddy pat on the bottom, “CRACK!” Now the morning is not going well at all.
We repeat this scenario often – she the victim – me the thoughtless husband. Then one day it came back on me with a vengeance. On a brisk morning, I had been wearing long-johns under my sweatpants. Later when I went to change pants I did not recognize my peril… big mistake. Pulling the underwear and pants apart while holding them just below waist level, there was, this time, an audible “CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!”. To be honest I don’t remember too much after that, except for Debbie laughing.
Author, outdoorsman, David N. Purkerson lived a rural life in his cabin on the western side of Mount Hood in Oregon. In 2006 Dave decided, "The mountain's getting too crowded." He downsized further to a 29' motorhome and went "on the loose." Since then, he and his wife/high school sweetheart have been continuous travelers seeking out the quiet corners of the Western United States, "If you want to find us, we'll be somewhere west of Nebraska."