Had a nightmare last night when I was suddenly back in high school (Yes, over a decade later, I STILL have nightmares about high school) and had a final, and the final turned out to be having to label the parts of a circuit board.

“You bombed, of course,” said James, who has, quite correctly, no illusions about my technical skills.

“Actually, I got “capacitor” right.”

James turned away from frying bacon long enough to give me a skeptical look. “You don’t know what a capacitor is.”

“The hell I don’t! It’s the thingies that store power even when you think the thing’s turned off and then when you grab it, it shocks the shit out of you.”

“Ohhh….I start to see why you might have remembered that one…”*

I went smugly back to my coffee, and didn’t mention that in my dream, I had labelled another part of the circuit board “Severus Snape” for no apparent reason.

*James is, of course, correct on this one–there’s bitter experience behind it. I once took a summer class in high school and built a laser. All my soldering and circuit building skills have long since faded, but years later, when it broke, I attempted to fix it. This involved turning it off, opening it up, gazing at it while the word “capacitor” drifted vaguely across the back of my brain, then shrugging and grabbing something. The resulting jolt shorted my memory out completely–there’s about half a minute from when I touched the thing to when I woke up on the floor a few feet away that I never did get back, and my heart hammered savagely in my chest in a way it never has before or since, for almost five minutes. Once I could get up, I put my laser away, and was careful never to mention this to my mother.

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