The actual mental process went more like, "Wha...? ... the fuwha?"
Shades of Oscar Wilde.
I lurched to my feet and, recognizing the sound, went over to where my genuine plastic Official Licensed Movie Product Replica Lord of the Rings "Sting" sword lay displayed on a small bookcase with one of my other favourite pieces of kitsch, a plastic bust of Michelangelo Buonarotti. Sting, when it impacts against anything, lights up blue and rings one of three recorded "sword-clashing" sounds from the speaker in its handle. A favourite toy of mine, it was presented to me one Sunday night shortly before I left South Bend by former high school students Trina Paris and Julia Cunningham, who called up to my apartment window until I agreed to come outside and who then awarded it to me for services to their education in a ceremony incredibly similar to a Buckingham Palace knighting.
Since I had graduated from being their teacher when I resigned in May, they felt no qualms about harassing me throughout the summer, impressing me into their "Movie Club" and dragging me to such wretched matinées as Lilo and Stitch, which was more fun for listening to them snort through it. I had known Julia since she was in sixth grade, as the younger and (then) quieter daughter of Larry Cunningham, a standout scholar of Christian spirituality whose research assistant I'd been at Notre Dame. Her best friend Trina had been a standout student of mine, who had originally taken my summer course in order to "get out of" more theology during the school year, and instead developed an aptitude for theological and philosophical work, doing extra coursework with me and continually standing out even with my heightened expectations for her. The two of them, being thick as thieves, ended up providing more of their share of comedy my last year in the Bend, and even showed up – Trina's boyfriend in tow – to help me move when the time came.
So I'm rather fond of Sting, and now here it was, randomly clashing away this morning, making me wonder for a moment if Milwaukee were actually experiencing a tremor. But it dawned on me fairly quickly that the two AAA batteries in the handle were at last running out, so I removed them and started my day. They'll get replaced, though: Sting is still a treasure five years later.
Trying to get more dissertation work done early today: Julie's grabbing me this afternoon and then Fareed Haque is playing at Jazz in the Park tonight, which I hope to hit with Ben. He was a professor during my undergraduate, and we used to go listen to him play in the foyer of the Music School during lunch hours. Fabulous....