Sunday, July 08, 2012

it had been about ten days of over-hundred degree heat here, with no break although rain and cooler weather were expected; it was so hot I’d taken to going outside and moving the cars around so that they were in the shade more, in fact I want them in the shade all the time, and the windows partly open even if it’s going to rain. the problem is this: when the sun shines on them the seats get to carrying lots of heat. even if the car has air conditioning as we drive it doesn’t compete with the heat emanating from the seat and the feeling that we’re in an oven that hasn’t even been turned off. the car that has no a/c, well we drive that around with its windows open, but whatever has been dumped on the floor, an old newspaper, is basically crumpled up and brittle due to the excessive heat. it’s an oven.

I got to the point where I didn’t even want to go out; I made up an excuse to stay home yesterday until I was forced to go fix a toilet later in the day; by then it had actually rained for a minute, but it was a kind of teaser rain and it was actually hotter immediately after the rain, for whatever reason. 105 might be usual for Texas or New Mexico, but it’s a good deal hotter than this place is used to and it was killing lots of trees, especially the younger ones. of course you can’t blame them for shriveling up and killing their leaves even if they’re still alive; they can’t support leaves in this kind of distressed condition. but the question is, whether we would ever see the green leaves again. if they are truly dead, then no.

in the same way southern illinoisans hung around waiting for some sign of rain, i had to keep restarting my laptop, because for some reason it doesn’t want to go look for its own wi-fi, and acts like it can’t find anything on the web at all for that reason. when I told it to look for wi-fi, it didn’t; it couldn’t find its own mechanism. how frustrating; I write my post on word, and wait for it to decide to connect, maybe later. it’s like parching, being bereft of facebook, wordsplay, and google news, my three usual haunts, and anything else I might want on the web.

on facebook I actually talk to people, whoever is there, especially if it’s someone in my family, many of whom are eager for the news, and want to know what’s going on or not with us. lots going on, of course, what with moving to texas, grown kids in various stages of crisis, three grandchildren babies whose pictures you will soon see here. on boggle, I’m still a pretty limited competitor, though I now get in the first half; I rarely make it into the top ten, and I’ve played with renewed feeling now that I’m retired; I did it to get a breather. on google news you have to choose between crumbling europe, katie holmes, or whatever, the purpose of google news is to make me grumpy enough so that I can finally open up my e-mail, but now that I’m retired I keep taking a glance at the news and going directly back to boggle. or back to facebook, whatever. banality is shallow, but it’s better than facing the facts, sometimes.

a son is a writer but struggles with writer’s block. it’s kind of like suffering from insomnia. it’s not that you’re physically not tired, but anxiety about not being able to sleep is so strong that it keeps you awake. let me say that again, the anxiety is chemically strong enough to trump everything else that is taking place in the system. it’s interesting that anxiety can cycle around and be so dominant in one’s thinking, but those are the facts. my own experience with writing is this: I have this blog, first of all, entirely for me. sure, I try to make it interesting for you the reader, but mainly, I try to just keep it coming in whatever form I can. second, I switch freely from formal writing (about language and language learning) to haiku, and short stories when I’m so inspired, I even write whole parts of novels which then are not finished and then I have to find something to do with them when I move. but I have several kinds; when I can’t do one, usually I can take up the other. and I can always come here where I can usually call upon myself to write something, even if it is a mundane account of the weather.

this brings us to today, when we had some sense that a storm would roll through eventually, but it took forever, and finally there were a couple of hours of thunder, all the while the grass parching and cracking below. then, in it came, about an inch of hard rain, pounding the parched grass and making the trees dance for joy trying to get every single leaf wet. it rolled right down off the caked hard ground and into the gutters, but finally you could practically see the hard ground giving in a little and letting some of the water in. I took a break from my packing and opened up a folding chair out on the covered porch and watched it. down it came pounding and drenching everything. one son ran out and stepped in the river at the bottom of the driveway but my wife got mad later for letting him be exposed to the danger of lightning; i hadn't even thought of it.

of course the personal stuff runs a course very parallel to this whole event but is best omitted from the blog for all kinds of reasons; suffice it to say that the huge relief i felt with the rain was accompanied by a deeper, more personal relief and such things may have their own blog someday but for now this is all they get. on to tonight, when i go to the store for cat food, milk and ivory soap, and steam is rising from the road as a week of stored heat is letting go into the wetness. the leaves are holding onto their water as if they each have a new love. at the store i take an extra trip to put four plastic bags full of plastic bags in the recycle bin, and a woman, standing next to a movie dispenser, is explaining to another woman a story of an insane killer and it's not clear to me if she's talking about some movie or what. on the news, a story is notable not because some plane melts right into the concrete, which i suppose is notable in a way, but because the story ends with my favorite malapropism, or misuse of an old saying, "cut the mustard" - which, i've always thought, was genuinely impossible.


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