Lost in the fourth dimension

So I’m reading this book because the author is an acquaintance* of mine, and I know if anyone can make a subject I find impenetrable (mathematics, doh), he’s the guy.

Chapter 12, Homer3 (sorry, don’t know how to do superscripts), describes the eponymous 1995 segment of Treehouse of Horror VI. In it, Homer moves through a portal behind a bookcase and emerges — no, not in Anne Frank’s secret annexe, but in the Fourth Dimension. Simon explains that it’s a tribute to the 1962 Twilight Zone episode entitled Little Girl Lost.

I burst out laughing. One of our favourite campfire tales concerns the night I got lost in the fourth dimension.

Let’s preface this by saying that throughout 1962 my late mother was stark raving bonkers. Maybe it was sleep deprivation; she had two small children. If you want more evidence, simply follow this link to an old column of mine from The Scotsman (despite what it says there), to discover how she responded to the Cuban Missile Crisis: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/what-s-on/bring-me-champagne-and-ice-cream-1-1382870

Mom and Dad watched the episode of Twilight Zone in question. That night or a few nights later they woke to the sound of my wee, plaintive voice calling, “Mommy, Mommy, come get me. I’m in the bathtub.” Muttering Oh My God and a few other pertinent phrases, Mom ran into the bathroom, threw back the curtain — and stared at the porcelain. No toddler. No signs that a toddler had recently been.

She ran back to rouse my father from sleep and showed him the empty bathtub. How puzzling. They could hear me quite clearly: “Mommy, I’m in the bathtub. Help. Come get me.”

They searched the flat. My brother was in his crib as per, but I was missing. With a flash of insight, my mother knew — she just knew with utter certainty: “OH MY GOD LEE IS IN THE FOURTH DIMENSION! MY CHILD IS LOST IN THE FOURTH DIMENSION!”

Somehow my father got her to stop hyperventilating and together they reasoned that it made sense to go back to where they first heard my voice. There, in their bridal suite, they heard me cry out again.

Sure enough, I had wriggled past my bed’s safety bars, wandered into their room, walked or fallen into the closet (shutting its door behind me), conked out, then woken up some time later confused and frightened.

But not, suffice to say, as confused or frightened as my mother.


*English is a magnificent language, but why is there such a paucity of words delineating the gradations of friendship and love? Calling Simon an acquaintance feels peculiar and stand-offish, but we’re not friends in the let’s go to the pub and hang out sense. What are the options? Mates? Pals? Buddies? Whatever (big sigh), he’s a man I know a little but respect a lot.

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