It took a second or two to realise what was going on.
Suddenly the room was filled with a loud industrial sort of humming and grinding. My head spun from staring at the screen. My first thought was, sensibly enough, a small aircraft was about to hit the place.
Then my eyes caught movement – I’d have needed both eyes removed to miss it, if I’m honest – and everything clicked.
I shot out of my chair, lunging towards the corner of the room to stop things before any damage could be done.
Now, I’m going to cut into my own story here because I need, I feel, to set the scene if you’re to truly grasp how totally out of left field the above scenario was.
Several years ago Tracey decided she was going to be the main bread winner in our family because her photography business was taking off and I was to quite my job at the bank and take over household duties.
My contribution to this decision was minimal. Mainly for fear of opening my mouth and spooking her. I didn’t want to risk waking up from this cracker of a dream and having to drag myself off to a bank counter again.
So we pulled down the ancient wooden termite bait of a lean-to shed, where we kept our old furniture and rats, and erected a nice new one which, after we had it lined and air conditioned, we dubbed a studio.
It was at this point I told my boss I quit, Tracey immediately had an aneurism and nearly died but didn’t, we bought a bus & took the kids on an eighteen month road trip, and a little under a year ago came back home to try the whole ‘Tracey’s going to be the main breadwinner’ thing again.
Only this time we had a cracker of a head start because we got most of the physical stuff – quitting my job, building a nice studio, medical emergency – out of the way four years ago.
All that was needed was to replace the huge roller door with a glass ‘shop front’ and I could focus on afternoon naps like I’d always wanted.
Facebook’s Marketplace came up with the goods and a friend of mine, who seen I’d purchased an old wooden real estate shop front, and who knew my skillset from having built my balcony with (for) me, ignored my “no need to help I have a hammer now'” assurances and came over to ‘assist’ me.
Which is pretty much all the background you need as I slip back into my original story, save for two small details. One, we left the roller door in because it was too heavy for the two of us to move. Two, the last time we saw the remote for the damn thing was four years ago, roughly about the same time I lost Tracey’s wedding ring while she was nearly but not quite dying.
And here I was, sitting at the office desk in Tracey’s studio ‘working’ and the damn thing was coming down – all by itself!
I got to the off button dangling from the side and the thing stopped mercifully short of the two door handles in the glass storefront, and then I simply stared at the whole thing trying to work out what had happened.
My screen hadn’t dimmed or spazzed out, so it couldn’t have been a power surge. I started to wonder if a neighbour had installed the same brand and we’d lucked out with the same frequency. I didn’t even know if that was possibly but I was struggling to come up with other alternatives.
I raised the door back to the roof – something which requires pressing the dangling button racing to a step in the middle of the expanse to pull the door out slightly so it slides over the hinges – and returned to the desk, staying poised for the remainder of the afternoon to leap again if it sounded like another low flying aircraft was going to hit us.
And then I forgot about it.
For two days.
Which was when I picked up a couple of button things from Tracey’s bedside table. One I recognised at our old keyless car entry, or beep-beep as we called it, for the Pajero we sold eight years go.
“What’s this,” I asked my wife, picking up the other button and showing her.
“Not sure,” she said, taking it out of my hand. “I found it in a box of old keys and cords. Was trying to work it out the other day.” She pressed the buttons randomly. “It doesn’t seem to wor- …what’s that noise? Is that a plane?”
Raising a family on little more than laughs