If scientists are sitting around wondering what to solve after Global Warming, I have an idea. Why not figure out why some people are more prone to static electricity than others? It may not seem like such a big problem to you, because you’re not full of charged ions. I am.
There are whole things I can’t do because I’ll get shocked doing them. Off the top of my head, they include:
1) Crawling through the brightly colored plastic tubing in a KidZone, Chuck E Cheese or McDonald’s Playland. Oh, sure I can crawl through the tunnels like there’s no tomorrow, but then when I’m done if I touch anything that contains metal or human flesh, I could light on fire. I’ve actually gotten halfway through a plastic tunnel and come across metal studs in my path and had to back up, feet and bum first, back the way I came, just to avoid touching metal and letting the sparks fly.
2) Drying clothes in a dryer. If there is anything less than 50 percent humidity in the house, I have a tough time using the clothes dryer. If the clothes are adequately dry, I have to open the door and let it stand still for a few minutes before I unload and fold. If I’m in a hurry and I need to just get the damn clothes out, I have to first wet a washcloth or take something small out of the washer, wave it around inside the dryer drum and use it to pick up the first and last piece of dry clothing so I won’t get shocked.
3) Buying frozen foods in the winter. Picking out frozen foods means opening those big metal-handled glass doors in the grocery store. If the heat is on in a store, there’s a lot of built up static electricity and touching the handle can be a painful experience for me and my kind.
Winter is a tough time for me. As soon as the heater comes on the first time, I’m snapping, crackling and popping more than the normal amount. Walking on carpet with sox or shoes on - even picking up my feet really, really good - is a problem.
I’m up there on the evolutionary chart, so I’ve adapted. I carry around a grocery list or an old receipt in one hand while I shop, and use it as a paper glove to open the giant freezers in the grocery store, For most other situations involving roaming electricity, I use my elbows, feet and handy tools to get the job done. And in a pinch I do a series of light touches while saying, “Oooh! oh! Ooooh! Oh! Oh, oh!” until the static electricity gets embarrassed and leaves.
Don’t tell me to just get some Static Guard. It might keep your polyester pants from sticking to your knee highs, but it doesn’t get rid of the kind of static that causes pain, blue sparks and audible zzttts when it hits my body.
I’m not the only one. Over the years, I saw one other woman in Shop Rite who grabbed the metal freezer door handle, scrunched up her face and said, “Shit!” loud enough for me to hear. I scampered over and said, “Did you just get shocked? I always get shocked! Let’s start a club!” I thought maybe we could shop together, carry around some walkie-talkies and let our fellow club members know when some unsuspecting shopper had opened the freezer door, so we could run over and hold it open with our butts, avoiding hand-to-handle contact.
So there’s that lady. I didn’t get her info, so I probably lost her. But I’m sure you’ve heard the story about the woman who burst into flames when she scooted across her upholstered car seat to get out of her car while at the gas station. Now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure she’s dead. Looks like my club idea isn’t going to work.