Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Short Treatise on Lamp Posts 3


I have a confession to make. (This is not easy and I ask for a full measure of understanding amongst all of you). The strange case of the intermittent street light was not the first time I have come face to face with paranormal powers around a lamp post. (There, it is out in the open now, I can move towards closure).
Many years ago when I was but a slip of a lad I had a strange and life-changing experience with a lamp-post. (My apologies to my new friends in the international street lighting community for my vagueness on the precise identity of the post in question but I suspect that it might have been a Thorn Alpha 7 Gearless). I was hanging around and up to no good - in the words of that immortal troubadour of the lamp post, George Formby, - leaning on a lamp post on the corner of the street. For reasons unknown to me after the passage of so many years I suddenly stood upright .... and I noticed the lamp post readjust itself to a true vertical position. For perhaps the first time I recognised my power as an adult - I had moved a lamp post. Granted it was less than a millimetre, but the post had moved. Once one has tasted the fruit of adult power it is difficult to put the apple down so I pushed against the lamp post again. Again it moved. I pushed again, this time as hard as I could, and the result was the same : distinct movement.
However, it seemed that I had reached the limits of the possible interaction between human muscle and cast iron. But then I made a discovery : a discovery which I still believe - in the right hands - has the potential to save the human race. If I applied force to the lamp post in a periodic fashion, so that my force coincided with the natural cycle of vibration of the metal, the potential effect was much magnified. Once I had got the vibration moving and the timing of my pushing in perfect synchronicity, the resulting movement was spectacular. Within less than a minute the lamp post was swaying wildly from side to side and I became alarmed when something appeared to break off the upper extremities of the post. The noise must have brought my activities to the attention of a passer-by who shouted something like "Hey lad, what tha' think ye doing?". I let go the lamp post and ran.
I could hardly sleep that night. I told nobody of this new power I had discovered. I was unsure whether this was a power that everyone potentially had available to them, or whether I alone had access to it. I couldn't wait to try it again. An opportunity presented itself the following day. It was a road sign and not a lamp post this time but I reasoned that the theory would be the same. I also thought it would be a better experimental rig as there was less to fall off and draw attention to my experiments. Once again, the process worked like a dream. Within seconds I had recognised the natural vibratory sway of the post and by adding just a little acceleration on each cycle, the street sign was swaying like a sapling in a hurricane. I watched amazed as the sign began to slip its concrete mooring and tear up the surrounding earth. Eventually it began to fall and I started to get very, very scared. I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a police car heading up the road and I began to run. I didn't stop running until I got home.
Later that night I made a vow. Well two vows actually. One I would never make use of my powers again (I eventually added a rider to this vow - "unless the world is in danger" - I was only about twelve and very keen on Superman). The second was that I would tell no one of what had happened. I did not want labelling a freak or to be treated differently to anyone else.
Until today, I have kept these two vows. Now I have broken the second. Perhaps the time is right to break the first as well. There is an Urbis Side Entry ZX1 (Flat Glass) just opposite our house and it's ripe for swaying.
On the advice of my doctors I have to announce that this is the last in the series "A Short Treatise On Lamp Posts"

1 comment:

  1. But that's amazing. I didn't realise you were in Abbotsford Road in Goodmayes (East London) back in something like 1959 - it must have been YOU I saw making the lampost wiggle until the lamp at the top broke!!!!

    Yup, same lampost I'd earlier (different day/month) first seen doing that switching-off trick. In fact THAT effect was why I was looking at it, wondering if it would go off and on again. Instead it suddenly started wobbling, more and more violently... since I could only see the top because of our garden hedge the effect was VERY spooky. Especially because, like you at that age, I hadn't realised lamposts COULD be made to wobble like that....

    (I fib slightly - intrigued, I remember I ran upstairs to see why on earth it was wobbling. And... I guess I have to admit it probably wasn't you. No pipe or moustache. And there were four of them.)

    I wasn't allowed to buy and read Superman comics, by the way. That's not to say I didn't read them - friends took pity on me and lent me them. Mother was horrified to find me reading one late at night (in bed) whilst listening to my home-made crystal set with single valve amplification (made from first principles) tuned to light (definitely not approved) music - said it was no wonder I got nightmares (whether because of the comic, the light music or not going to sleep on time I nearly asked) - but why else did she think I'd asked for a torch for Christmas?

    It says something odd about my family's dynamic - my father could play basically anything on the piano (yes, the one I demanded to inherit as the only thing I wanted to inherit) despite minimal music lessons - whether from music, or simply improvising nearly the right thing from memory... including jazz... I only discovered relatively late in life. So why did he hardly ever improvise it?....

    I can only think because my mother didn't approve, "really"... dear me, this makes my mother sound awful, and she wasn't, just had these extraordinary prejudices and beliefs... nearly always that if her mother hadn't done it, there must be something wrong...

    Funny to think she was in horror the TV I arranged for her had gone wrong just when the Queen Mum's funeral was due... you'd have thought it was MY fault, almost. In fact I sweet-talked an engineer into getting the thing fixed by unashamed sob story... this poor old lady, not able to have many interests anymore...

    I left out what I was thinking, only Jane knows that, she found it quite funny when I told her... thoughts that colourfully disparaged both my mother and the TV rental people before they capitulated. Not the engineer who fixed it, though, he was obviously a total sweetie who charmed my mother totally... and, even more importantly, spotted the fault in moments and got the thing working. Thereby lowering my blood pressure to hear he had.....

    Fascinating, I had phone calls every other moment until I managed to persuade the TV company to act (it was a rental TV in my name... mother never agreed to actually OWN a TV, just accepted that she might as well have a look at the one I'd rented and thought might interest her if she forgot her prejudices)....

    Nobody called to say it had been OK, I had to call them to ask if it had. Did they really think I was so cold-blooded I wasn't keen to know if my sob story had worked?

    If only to KNOW...

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