Nessun Dorma

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Just after dark last night I noticed some lights flashing outside the kitchen window.

We live in a fairly quiet neighbourhood. Sure, there's the occasional neighbourly shoot-out (although the boy swears that those shots are just the guy around the corner's truck backfiring and therefore not really shots at all, but I like my story better because it brings back sweet memories of the year that I lived in Johannesburg), but other than that, it's really quiet.

Because after all, one doesn't actually HEAR stabbings. (Unless the victims live long enough to scream a bit.)

Anyway, I digress.

So since our neighbourhood is so peaceful and we don't often see any ambulances or fire trucks around these parts, I promptly grabbed the boy by the hand and dragged him to the kitchen window to see which vessel was the bearer of the bright and flashing lights.

Much to our surprise and - I admit - my slight disappointment, there was no shiny red fire engine in the alley behind the house. Also no ambulance. Or even a police car.

The source of the strobe lights piercing the darkness then?

The Towers.

You see, we live at the foot of a hill in Baltimore. The hill is home to the majority of the television stations in the city - it even has the very imaginative name of "Television Hill."

One of those television stations is famous for once employing a very young Oprah Winfrey as a cub reporter/anchor woman. She had some glamorous assignments back then. Nowadays, whenever the esteemed Ms. Winfrey is in the news for some reason, the station loves to repeatedly play a segment from their archives showing a flustered 20-something Oprah fending off a vicious parrot at the Baltimore Zoo.

But that hill isn't just home to the humble beginnings of Oprah's career. It's also the dwelling place of... The Towers.

Until now I've actually kind of liked these television towers. Never mind the fact that the images on our television screen gets all warped when we're watching a show and we dare to move even so much as an inch on the couch; or that I can't sit down to watch the one and only Ms. Winfrey chatting up various celebrities every afternoon at four, because Oprah coincides with rush hour and heavy traffic on one of the major routes just so happen to interfere with our television reception. Even though the major road in question is TEN MILES AWAY, and the towers are just one mile away.

So when I want to watch Oprah and not snow* (or blue. The screen sometimes go entirely and hypnotically blue), I have to stand on one leg while spinning a white saucer on the tip of my right index finger. If I want to have the luxury of standing on both legs while watching, I have to insert a coat hanger in... well, never mind.

Still, despite the fact that the television towers that are looming directly over our house does nothing to enhance our television viewing experience, I like the towers. Besides, I employ them for other things.

Like assessing the weather. On foggy winter days when I want to determine the thickness of the fog, I need only look out the window to see if the towers are visible.

Up until the night before last, I loved the nightly ritual of being lulled to sleep by the friendly, winking red lights at the top of the towers.

Those nights are over.

Right now it's just after three in the morning. But gone is the black velvet cloak of Night. Forever banished is the comforting darkness that had cradled me in sweet slumber a mere 24 hours ago!

In it's place, LIGHT.

Light brighter than the noonday sun in South Africa, penetrating the tightly drawn blinds and drapes and flooding the house EVERY TWO SECONDS and blinding my already bloodshot, bleary eyes.

A light that makes a powerful lighthouse beam seem like the innocent, weak glow of a children's night light.

A light. Probing. Flashing. Constantly flashing. NEVERENDINGFLASHINGFLASHINGFLASHING like a psychedelic disco light.

Robbing me of sleep.

Can't sleep. Can't. Sleep.



I HATE it when the television tower lamps get new light bulbs...

* Since I'm up: Did you know that the snow on your television screen is not a random garble; it is encoded information about the thermal and electromagnetic processes going on in the atmosphere and in your power lines? Well, duh, of course you did.


Cherryflava said:

Just carry on reading my site'll fall asleep very soon.

Bookstore Diva said:

Hello Red, My Dahling,
I've been reading your rantings while I'm at work. I usually want to respond,but I have to sneak. Because the warden's office is right behind my cubicle ala officespace. And god forbid,she should see me doing anything not work related. I never see you in the Megabookstore anymore.I can't believe that you've given up on Shark teeth and Starbucks coffee. I've seen your boy. (He told me about ur new past time) And this is how I've found you. I have to admit that your musings are completely you. I love it. You go on with your bad self....The Diva has spoken!!!!!</

deeleea said:

Wow... never knew the tv got the blue screen of death too...

martha said:

Bright lights, big city - maybe you can pretend like you're living in Times Square or something - that might lure you into a powerful state of delusion wherein you could fall asleep.

worth a shot, no?

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • martha : Bright lights, big city - maybe you can pretend like you're living in Times Square or something - th... [go]
  • deeleea : Wow... never knew the tv got the blue screen of death too...... [go]
  • Bookstore Diva : Hello Red, My Dahling, I've been reading your rantings while I'm at work. I usually want to respond... [go]
  • Cherryflava : Just carry on reading my site'll fall asleep very soon.... [go]
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