Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What's the Weather?

There are days when the weather sets your mood, no matter if you work indoors or out. Today is one of those days.

It has been well under the freezing mark for over a week, so the sudden rise to 60 in January, should be beguiling but is instead off-putting. The air doesn't feel right. It's both wet and dry, so that even the lightest coat seems too warm, but the bare air on your arms feels clammy and disturbing. The wind is alternately howling and lying completely dormant, so that all of the normal outdoor sounds keep fading in and out of focus. The sun, when it shines, is bright and glaring with that faded quality particular to winter, that makes it seem like it is streaming through a dense fog before it lands, thuggish and plain, on the windows of your car. But it won't stay out for long, and it darts in and out between ever darkening skies with clouds that are moving in the wrong direction, creating an optical illusion of speed where none exists. A storm is coming, but it is strutting leisurely into position, taking its time to set the proper mood, almost as if a dinner party is being laid with everything from soup to nuts and we all have to wait, course by course, for the dessert to finally arrive in a puddle of oozing black chocolate and blood red cherries.

Today would be a good day to open all your windows and let some fresh air blow through - but I'm not a big fan of demons or demi-gods, witches or winged creatures, so I'll be keeping my windows closed tight.

Today is a good day for a fight on a beach, the wind tearing the words from your mouth and tossing them hither and yon onto the salty air. It is the day for a horror story, to curl up with the best of King or Lovecraft and let yourself be carried away by the gusting and groaning of wood and steel. It is the kind of weather for mischief and magic, for waiting. Today is the kind of day to keep the doors locked but all the lights on, because in this weather, just about anything can happen.

Today, a Klingon would believe, is a good day to die.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Singing John Cougar Mellencamp

The past few weeks, some little shit with too much time on his hands and too little parental supervision has been terrorizing my little town with random and predatory acts of vandalism. (Or so I believe. It could be multiple little shits, or female little shits. But the fact that whomever is doing this is a piece of shit is of no question.) Anyway, if they ever find this little shit, I hope that someone strings him up by his toes in front of our little hometown market so we can all throw stones at him.

The biggest problem that has been caused, beyond loss of property, is the loss of a sense of safety. If you can't park your car in your own driveway without your tires being slashed, well, you aren't going to want to walk out of your own door in the morning because you will be afraid of what fresh hells awaits.

I don't want to live in that kind of town.

So, instead, I want to talk about the town I actually do live in. It's got lovely tree-lined streets that cast shade all summer long. It has Fourth of July parades, Christmas parades, an outdoor fruit and veggies market, lots of sports, and a feeling of community so strong that my kid made a fortune selling lemonade on our front steps. My husband likes to joke that he wants to bring another woman to the local bar just to see how long it will take for me to get the first text message trying to find out who she is, why my husband is out with her, and if I know about it. My guess? Under an hour.

When my son's preschool was vandalized by the aforementioned little shit and their entire library of children's books had to be destroyed due to fire retardant material being blasted all over it - well, that's when a town like this comes alive.

I will flatter myself enough to say that I started the ball rolling by posting a plea on social media asking for help. However, everyone knows that the ball is the least important part of a Rube Goldberg machine. It is all the resulting pieces and explosions and moving parts that get it to its final and fantastic conclusion. In this case, it was the dozen other people that reposted on Facebook. The fantastic individual who showed up with 12 boxes, and the equally fantastic people who showed up with one. One enterprising woman rallied her mother's group, another asked her children to kids pick their favorite book out of their private collections and then donate that one, many dropped a bag off at my house without waiting for a thank you or any acknowledgement at all. There were books shipped from California and Virginia and money donated from people who don't have kids, let alone kids books. Hell, my own mother got a one-week free pass of me complaining about her because her donation was so generous and then my in-laws doubled her, getting them out-of-jail-free for a month. (Not that I ever complain about them. Hi Dad!) There are also so many stories I don't know. Many, many bags and boxes dropped off by those many others who rallied their troops, gathered their friends, and asked their own families for help.

That is why I live in a small town. Small towns don't turn their backs on neighbors (though they do gossip about them constantly.) They don't focus on acts of stupidity, they focus on kindness and joy. Two weeks ago, the school library was empty. Today, it is bursting at the seams, so overfilled that another bookcase needed to be added. And still the books spill over the tops and sides. Soon, a few lucky charities will get the excess. Those books that were over the age range, the duplicates, the ones that don't quite work for preschools.

So I say thank you, small town, for making me so glad I moved her, that I have friends here, and that I call this place home. (And when that little shit comes to justice, as he surely will, let him learn what small town justice is like.)