I don’t know what it is about winter exactly that does it - and I’m certainly not far from learning what it is while sitting at the computer - but every year is a new adventure in Pavlovian training while exiting my car.

Perhaps it’s the extra layer of clothing that does it. Maybe it’s that plus the dry air. Every time I step out of the car after a ride of reasonable length, I get zapped when I touch the door.

When I say “zapped”, I am talking about a static discharge, sure, but it’s bigger than most I’ve seen. At night after returning from work, sometimes I can get zapped with such intensity that not only can you see the arc of electricity between my hand and the door, but the light that it produces will actually cast shadows that I can see!

It would be kind of neat if it didn’t produce the response in me that it does. For example, this morning when I was getting out of my car at work, I had difficulty touching the door to close it. My brain knew that I was going to be zapped, and it wouldn’t let me touch the door.

I finally willed myself to touch the door (no zap?) and closed it, but now that I’ve noticed this effect affecting me on a subconscious level, I find it much more disturbing.

I wonder what other things I do, unconscious of the effects that cause me to do them. This is disturbing.

In the short term, I’m accepting suggestions on how to stop the zap. I’ve considered touching the car door with my key before using my hand, which has worked (watch the arc jump!) but is too difficult to remember because it’s not something that one would do naturally. Wearing gloves helps, but that’s not always convenient, either. Perhaps there is some anti-static spray that will help, or maybe I could wear different shoes. A general-purpose solution would be great, and I’m sure some enterprising person with the same problem has already got it solved.