Flash in the Pan

My sister and I play Wordle everyday and share our results via text. Some days the words cause us to continue the game in our silly made up way by creating similar words. For example “grill” would be the starter and I will respond with “thrill” and she will reply “frill”. We do this for several minutes or until one of us is called back to the real world. It never fails to make me chuckle.

Today I was awakened at an ungodly hour by my dog who decided to re-nest in our bed. She spooned me to the very edge and promptly started to snore. I have one leg swinging over the side and am lying on a precarious angle trying to keep a strip of real estate. It’s a losing battle. But as I grapple with covers and pillows on my tiny island, my arm movements are causing my faux Fitbit to light up. Each time I move, the ungodly hour of 5:05 am is flashing in my face. And there it is. The word “flash” … and I can’t get it out of my head. I lay quietly while my bedmates snore and think of all the ways “flash” impacts my life. Cuckoo.

I simply loved school. Everything about it. Chalk dust (there were no white boards). The smell of markers (used on flip charts which were like white boards). Felt boards. Globes. Recess. And Flash Cards! Mostly for simple math drills, these cards (not like playing cards, but bigger like the size of an iPad) had a math formula on one side and the answer on the back. One person (the teacher usually) held the card up to the audience of students and answers were shouted out. 3 + 6 = …. It was so much fun I created a homemade set for my siblings. Flash cards. What a flashback.

Today’s modern technology provides some useful gadgets. Our mobile phones for example are handheld treasure troves. I’m sure that (like my brain) I’m using a mere fraction of the potential of the device (I only need to be around my nephew and his girlfriend for 3 seconds to know the fraction is actually embarrassingly minute) but of what I do know there are two features that I marvel at. For starters, the flashlight. Having lived rurally for many years, we had flashlights (the actual battery operated version) of all shapes and sizes all over the house. You never knew when the power would go out randomly. Rudy kept a huge, heavy model near his bedside; his flashlight provided light and protection. He also had mini ones that he could set to the strobe light feature and ward off nocturnal rodents. Simply set the strobe light on the outside deck and voila: no raccoons 🦝

The other phone feature is the photo flash. You can turn it on or off. Or simply set it to auto. They call them smart phones for good reason. The phone knows when you need the flash on if you can’t decide yourself. My mom and dad had a camera when we were little. In those days you needed to buy flash cubes which you plugged into the top of the camera. Flash cubes allowed you to take photos in a dark space and light up your subject with one big flash. The thing actually made a weird popping noise as it sparked a huge flash. Then, rather than passing the phone around for a peak at the result or using airdrop, you had to take the film out of the camera and have it developed at a photo centre. Only to pick up the developed photos a week later (Kodak one hour development was a pricey luxury!!) and find out that the flash made us blink or have devilish glowing red ember eyes. Like demons. The flash cubes were a one hit wonder. Poof. Garbage.

We spend our winters in Florida. It’s nice. But we get there after the stormy season. This year it was a double whammy. First Ian then Nicole wreaked havoc on the coasts and to a lesser degree inland. Our place is inland by choice. Storms is one of the many reasons. Florida has storm reservoirs to capture the overflow of excess water. But the deadly surges causing flash floods are devastating. The clean up from the flash floods is ongoing today. New roofs are being installed in our community today. But Florida is not alone. There are Canadians from the east coast of Canada in our community and their flash floods this fall were brutal, too. With all of the media attention on Florida we neglected to remember that our coasts were battered leaving many without power for weeks. Good time for flashlights.

Every now and then you get a movie flashback. Recently, with the untimely death of Irene Cara, I thought of Flashdance. That movie had it all I think. A bit fairytale. A chick welder. Who rode her bike to the job site. Badass. Dated the boss. Who drove a Porsche 911. She lived in an uber chic warehouse where she practised her dance moves with her pit bull, Grunt. and Irene Cara blasted out What a Feeling. 1983. Year of the leg warmers thanks to Flashdance.

Around the same time frame (early 1980’s) we experienced another phenomenon. Michael Jackson and his superlative creative genius gave us the quintessential music video Thriller. It also was the first (as far as I know) flash mob dancing routine. The writhing and twitching mummies led by MJ on the video have been the much copied flash mobs of even today. So many videos circulate of copy cats of the Thriller dance but others as well. They are fun to watch! German Flash Mob

A number of years ago we took a boat cruise up the Thames River in London England. On the cruise (which was actually a part of the transit system!) the captain gave an informative (and hilarious) narrative to points of interest along the way. There are so many historical sayings that have travelled the years and are still in use today. “Box office” for example. As we cruised past an authentic theatre in the round a la Shakespeare, we were told that theatre goers placed their entry fee into wooden boxes at the end of the seat aisles. The boxes were collected by the attendants and brought to the managers office for counting. The office was referred to as “the box office “. Flash in the pan is similar, but there are a couple of versions. One relates to gold miners during the infamous gold rush. As they panned for precious metal they would sometimes be eluded by a “flash in the pan” or a glint of something mistaken as gold. It didn’t “pan out”. The other version refers to the musket where gun powder placed in a pan on the firing pin lit the charge causing the gun to fire a bullet. If the gunpowder ignited but failed to launch the bullet it was called a flash in the pan. Or, in other words, a fruitless effort.

There are no words to describe the worst kind of flash. The hot flash. Ugh. Hormonal surges that appear out of nowhere and make your mother ask: oh, did you get a perm?? Like a personal humid monsoon. It descends on you like a moist sauna and lingers just long enough to make your skin drip. A steamy moustache. Boob sweat. And at night, in the deepest, darkest sleep, aided by a super hot canine, you’re suddenly awake because you are struggling to get the covers off. Your bed is a virtual swamp.

Let’s hit the flash sale! It will be gone in a flash. Did that guy just flash me?? If I flash a smile he might not ticket me …. I’ll be there in a flash.

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