Sunday, April 2

The surreal world

The weather here in Bluff City lurched from chilly to balmy two days ago, nearly completely skipping the comfortable non-weather conditions of a typical spring — non-weather conditions like air that's unobtrusive and won't make your hair spasm and crinkle up into a frizzy crown fit for a crazy person.

When it gets warm, people lose their minds. For the past couple of days, I've been treading along lightly in this world, just observing the madness and trying to stay out of the fray. It's a little like watching a time-lapse video of a bustling city seen from a helicopter: Tail lights streaking, following the same predictable paths but slightly altered by each car's particular trajectory.

On Friday, the drive to work couldn't have felt weirder. As soon as I pulled onto the street, I knew things were off. I turned onto Union and watched as people around me frantically and haphazardly ignored all rules of law and common courtesy and weaved their cars in and out and around and through, bumpers coming precariously close to one another, side mirrors reaching out for contact, hot tires drumming along, dancing on the lines. Memphis drivers, we always complain. They are THE worst. But Friday — Friday's strangeness was not fueled by the random and everyday mediocrity and impatience of the average Memphis driver. It was fueled by the systematic crazying brought on by the heat.

And it's only going to get worse.

Last night, as I left work and was walking through the courtyard to the parking lot, examining the hedges and wondering when the dozens of golden orb spiders would make their dramatic seasonal appearance, the courtyard's ten or so big globe lights flickered around me and went out all at once and I was left standing in a darkened courtyard lit only by scant street lights and a few office lights left on a few floors above me.

I scurried out onto the street and the security guy had seen what had happened from his position in the parking lot. He asked me if the building's lights had gone off, too. I said I didn't think so, because some office lights had stayed on when everything else outside had gone black. So he flipped open his cell phone and told me goodnight, and I walked to my car, watching the lightning from the west.

The air was so thick it fizzed with each snap of the sky.

And then my car wouldn't start.

It's weird out there, I tell you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's how I felt about the heat in New Orleans. It was like a completely different planet. And that was before Katrina struck.

Tue Apr 04, 10:03:00 AM  

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