Click: (n) a short, sharp sound as of a switch being operated
But I’ve never met a stupid idea I wasn’t willing to consider if I thought it advanced my cause or gave me a shortcut.
Many years ago, when my children were younger, we traveled the country as a family band. It was like the Partridge Family without the cuteness, obvious talent and painted bus. Instead we had a car, and found an old trailer, which had sat in a farmer’s field for two years–abandoned.
Not knowing anything at all about such matters, we liked the look of the trailer on the outside, so we bought it for $350.
It probably was not worth $3.50.
Not only had it been unused for two years, but it was also twenty-five years since its manufacturing. The wood was rotten, the tires completely dry-rotted, and all the wiring shot to hell.
But we hooked it up anyway.
Amazingly, much of the time it functioned–awkwardly. It looked horrible, but it carried things and limped along behind our car.
That is, until one night, in the mountains of California, the electrical system decided to have a nervous breakdown.
We did not know what to do. It was pitch black outside, there were coyotes everywhere and I had a fourteen-year-old son with me–the only one awake–to try to crawl back in the trailer and fix the lights.
After fiddling with the wiring, we got back into the car and they worked for about twenty minutes.
Then, all at once, we heard this clicking sound. Rapid. Almost like someone was sending Morse Code. And along with the clicking, the tail lights joined in, blinking.
We kept tinkering with it, trying to make it work. There was even one interlude when it stopped clicking for about thirty minutes. We were so relieved that my son actually went to sleep. To this day, he tells the story of nightmares of being chased by a “clicking monster,” and the horror of awakening once again to the same sound.
Mile by mile we held our breath–fearful of the dreaded click.
It wasn’t until the next day, when we reached a town and pulled into a repair shop, that we discovered there was nothing wrong with the trailer or the wiring. It was the switch on our car’s headlights, which decided to take this particularly bleak evening in the California hills to become temperamental.
Every once in a while I’ll hear a sound which ever-so-slightly resembles that clicking.
Losing control, I pee my pants a little.