This is what I understand about electricity: (The following information is paraphrased from the book CODE by Charles Petzold.)
Atoms are made up of protons, electrons and neutrons. Protons and electrons tend to exist in equal numbers in the atoms to which they reside. Sometimes it is possible for an electron to jump from one atom to another. This is electricity.
The words electron and electricity come from the Greek word for amber. This is because the Greeks discovered static electricity when they experimented with rubbing amber and wool together. In these experiments, the electrons would jump from the amber over to the wool.
More modern day experiments can be conducted with shoes and carpet.
Here is where I am confused:
When the carpet picks up electrons from your shoes, eventually, everything gets evened out when you touch something and feel a spark. That spark of static electricity is the movement of electrons by a rather circuitous route from the carpet through your body back to your shoes.
After this explanation he moves on to a larger concept, but I am left slightly confused.
Exactly what is this "circuitous route"? Does the thing I touch also have to be touching the carpet?
Why did the electrons jump from my shoes to the carpet in the first place?
If the electrons were transferred to the carpet for a reason, what is it that makes them get transferred back to my shoes?