Last night at 11, thanks to one of the dogs trying to become a second skin, I raised my head preparing to turn over on my side. There was a sudden flash of light, a low-pitched "zzzt" sound, and I felt as if I'd had a nasty blow just below my left eye that really hurt. I did my usual under stressful circumstances--yelled for Mary--and touched the area with my fingers--which came away wet with blood.
In the bathroom mirror I saw a long (about an inch and a half), jagged, wide but shallow cut that Mary describes as looking as if done with a blunt knife about a half inch under my eye. I was also in a good deal of pain, and nauseous.
The only plausible explanation that Mary and I can come up with is a very nasty, very strong discharge of static electricity from the headboard of the bed.
All of our beds, which we've had for three years, have sort of filigreed metal "headboards." I read in bed every night unless I'm deathly ill (as happened last year), propping pillows against the headboard, removing them when I'm ready to go asleep (keeping one for me and one for Fred, who likes his comfort). I've never had any discharge, no spark, nothing from the headboards in that time period. Neither has Mary. Our pillowcases are made of cotton or blends with synthetics. To top it all off, humidity suppresses the buildup of static charges; the average humidity in our house is about 80% right now, which should prevent the a buildup. The windows were closed; while it was raining, we weren't having an electrical storm.
And why so strong? It isn't as if I hadn't touched the metal in months. The last time I can remember clearly that I did so was the night before.
We have no explanation. Which kept me "wired" for the night, finding it hard to go back to sleep when I had no idea why it had happened.
I spend very little time in the past; "What if" doesn't hold a lot of charm for me because, analytical, linear thinker that I am, practical, problem solver, "it" didn't happen, so why dwell on it? Just learn and move on.
But the three worst words in the English language for me are "I don't understand". One of the most basic aspects of my personality is the drive to understand the world around me. I don't mean mere collection of facts, which I regard as almost useless. I mean the ability to connect those facts and makes sense out of them, see the pattern, understand what's happening. It's part of the reason why I chose a career in science, why I wound up my career in industry, and it still dominates my everyday life. What kept me awake was not that "it" happened, but that since I have no idea why, I also have no idea how to prevent a reoccurrence.
I finally fell back to sleep about 2 am. This morning, I'm resigned to a black eye here sooner or later. The cut has stopped hurting and the pain which felt localized in the bone just underneath the eye has dulled way down. Mary is researching ways to insulate that metal headboard--we just can't remove it, since it stabilizes the frame--until we can replace it with something different. But believe me, while I do have an adventurous spirit, this isn't the sort of experience I wish to repeat or have had in the first place.