It all started with the radio.
We were doing fine, dwelling in the same living space, enjoying the same music. A little country, a little classical, a whole lot of evening jazz. We were relaxing to Beethoven and cooling off to Chris Botti and singing along with Blake Shelton and then, when I wandered over to the Big Band station, the radio turned itself off. A little Artie Shaw or Benny Goodman–click. Every time.
The TV got wind of this. The TV decided to do its own brand of censoring.
When I first hooked up the television I had a smorgasbord of stations. I was hooked. It saw I was hooked. It knew I could be spending time on more productive endeavors, like rewriting my novel. So it started eliminating the stations one by one until I was left with one station.
One station, that aired the original Star Trek series and the old Dick Van Dyke show.
Night after night I watched Bones and Spock and Kirk boldly go where no man has gone before, and then I watched Dick come home from the office, tumble over the hassock and get the wind knocked out of him.
I checked the connections.
I jiggled the cord.
I called the people dedicated to fixing these problems, and a man wearing a hard hat drove up in a white van.
He strapped on his tool belt.
He clanked through the neighbors’ back yard.
He clattered up the telephone pole.
Twenty minutes later he was unstrapping his tool belt, flinging it into the back of the van and telling me I’ve got squirrels in the doohickey.
“They’re building condos up there,” he said. “Sharpening their teeth on the wires. AT and T will want to replace all those wires running to the house. You can spring this on your landlady now,” he said, “or wait.”
I opted to wait.
Because I knew, I knew it had nothing to do with the wires; it had to do with the fact that my radio and TV were in cahoots. They were trying to control me.
Okay. This is dysfunctional thinking. This is the kind of logic Bones might manufacture. Luckily, I had a Spock-like rational self who pointed out the sensible thing to do was replace the radio and deal with the faulty wiring. Luckier still, I had a wise self, a Zen-like Captain Kirk, who suggested the radio and TV were doing me a favor. They were telling me to spend less time tuning into them, and more time tuning into myself.
So I did the mindful thing.
I turned off the television.
I pulled out the meditation bench.
I settled down and straightened up and focused on my breathing and two minutes later I was channel-surfing in my head, my thoughts scampering around like squirrels in a doohickey. I found myself wondering, what’s next? Will the blender regurgitate my breakfast smoothie? Will the vacuum cleaner suck up my faux fur slippers?
It could happen.
To find out if you have Squirrels in the Doohickey, check out these 10 tell-tale signs.