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With Halloween coming up and all, I think that I’ll have to admit that I think that the house seems to be haunted. Not just by the bats who make periodic appearances (Though not—can I hear some knocking on wood out there—just lately) thupp-thupping around inside the place, from living room to dining room to kitchen and back again. They swoop, the bats do and that’s scary enough, but what’s even worse is when they STOP swooping and disappear somewhere into the drapes or under the couch—that was a weird one–and will only come out when the lights are off again. No, it’s not necessarily the bats.

I think that we have electronic “haints”.

The computer is at the head of the class in this particular respect, of course. It decides for itself what it wishes to work with me on and what it feels that I have no business attempting to do—for my own good, of course. It will change the size of print that appears on the screen without my ever having made any such choice. It will print out pages with print so small that I can barely read it and, to add insult to injury, cut off the right-hand side and put something else there with nothing to do with the original page. Where does this stuff come from ? Why does it happen? I have no clue…nor am I likely to have one this side of the Pearly Gates.
Then there’s the light in the bathroom. One of the bulbs burned out over the sink. So I replaced it with what was supposed to be the proper wattage and all. Fine. Flick on the switch and there is light…for a while. Then it dims, then it brightens, then this goes on and on. Never actually goes out, but is never long-term steady either. I took the bulb out and returned it to see if it was screwed in properly. No anomalies there, but it’s still doing the old switcheroo every so often. What’s up with that?
Similarly, a bulb in one of the lamps on the buffet in the dining room, which should be of the same wattage as the one on the other side, is consistently noticeably dimmer for no good reason that I can discern. Looks sort of peculiar with one side bright and one not so much but I’m too cheap to replace it until one of them burns out (Is that what you call it when it’s one of those forever LED bulbs?)

Then there’s the microwave. This is a new, over-the-range microwave (The other one died and had to be replaced by the crack team from Porter Construction). It has the usual buttons for operation—on, off, thaw, cook, clock, reheat, the usual—and I can manage to do what I need to do with them. However, there is also a light switch so that the cook top can be illuminated (This is not always a desirable view, if I have recently gotten a little messy) and one can tell if the eggs are “over easy” or –unintentionally—scrambled. O.K., so unless I am actually cooking, I leave that light off. Leaving it on encourages at least one cat to hop up to see that everything is as it should be and no cans of tuna are invitingly sitting open there. You can’t be too careful about these things; unattended tuna cans might attract bats, dontcha know. So I turn it off. I get up in the morning to do my daily walk; it’s dark when I leave the house. When I return, the light is on. Have I somehow, inadvertently, set a timer to do this? It would have to be REALLY inadvertent, since I don’t even know how to set the timer in the first place. Occasionally it will come on at about the same time in the p.m. but I didn’t set that either. Maybe the cats are cooking up something while I’m out. True to form, they’re not sharing.
And there’s a radio in the front room that should be tuned to the same station as all of the other radios in the house but all it usually produces is a bumper crop of static. Moving the speakers or the radio itself avails us not, as the static just increases in volume and the station it’s tuned in to can just barely survive any alteration at all. Maybe the cats have some other NPR station they’d rather listen to. Beats me.

So, I’m thinking that when the little tikes come to the door and pipe up, “Trick or Treat!”, maybe I should just say. “Trick!” and invite them in. Probably wouldn’t get many takers. It is cute when the littlest ones are coached from the sidelines by parents…”What do you say?”, encouraging the little ones to say “Trick or Treat.” At least one little guy cut to the chase, got right to the point and instead of the desired request, just screwed up his face and muttered, “CANDY.”

I do think that it’s not quite kosher when the beggars on the porch are rather over-sized and haven’t bothered to even attempt a costume. That calls for the “C list” candy which is mostly single Smarties or root beer barrels. The general run of kids get a mixed bag selection of whatever was in the best sale. The neighbors and ones that I know or have the most imaginative costumes get the “A list” good stuff. Leftovers go into my Quiz Bowl stash to nosh on at competitions, although sometimes that disappears a little early—nothing ghostly about that.