July 11, 2020:

I'm on the cool tile floor at home, my mother's apartment on Cowley Way. She's bought me materials for a school project: a six-volt lantern battery, a short spool of wire, wire cutters, a single-pole-single-throw "knife" switch, a small six-volt light bulb, and a light bulb socket with gold-colored screws where the wires connect.

In principle it's simple to make this work. It's called a "circuit" but it's just like a race track. Current leaves the battery, flows through the switch, lights the light, and runs home to the battery waving its hands in the air like a champion. Got it. The hardest part turns out to be using the wire cutters to correctly strip insulation from the ends of the lengths I've previously used them to cut. It takes a few tries before I have that well-coordinated.

I attach the wires. A quick half-wrap around the positive (red) pole and tighten the plastic cap which screws down firmly. The other end of that wire screws onto one screw of the switch. It actually doesn't matter which one, but I choose the one which makes the switch face what I'm calling "forward" on the circuit. Next wire: from the switch's second screw to the first screw of the socket. Next wire: from the socket's second screw back to the battery's negative (black) pole. Tighten everything down, screw-in the lightbulb. Shut the switch: voilà! Check it out, mom: we have light. It works first time.

I really was not expecting that. Honestly, it kinda knocked me on my ass, or would have if I weren't already on my ass on the floor. I'd predicted there'd be a struggle, so that when there wasn't it was game over for me. I've found something I understand, something I'm good at, which most other people don't know how to do, even grownups. From that moment forward I'm now Johnny Electron: the kid who lights shit up.