AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: DATE: 5/19/2004 12:54:00 PM ----- BODY:

Court and Spark

Well, okeyy, but...but that's the last straw...

The office almost caught fire this morning. One of the banks of flourescent lights blazing down into our cubicles was making a weird rattling / hissing sound for several hours, which I chalked up to Doug's window being open and the blinds being blown by the wind, but all of a sudden, Patrick stood up and said, "Does it smell like burning plastic in here?" No sooner had he asked than there was a pop and a shower of sparks, followed by a sinister curl of black smoke from inside the flourescents, which had also shut off instantly, as one might expect since they were exploding. The burning-plastic smell was now overpowering. Smoke continued snaking out of the lights. In contrast to what might be termed alarming circumstances, those of us sitting near the area of the explosion were placid--apathetic, even. "Huh." We kept saying, looking up at the defunct lights the way I would imagine turkeys stare up into rain. "Huh." Fortunately, having a wiring problem in this building is like having a heart attack in a hospital--there are more electrical engineers around here than cockroaches. Which means that right now next to my desk there's a guy up on a ladder, a couple other guys standing around making fun of him, and so many wires and spark plugs are hanging out of the ceiling that it looks like he's trying to defuse a nuclear bomb. It also means work will not burn down today. Bummer.