Here in Charleston, we have a snow day. Everything is shut down. Roads. Bridges. Banks. Offices. EVERYTHING.
For a couple of days now, my news feeds have been full of friends complaining about how hot it is outside. Many of them live north of the Mason Dixon Line and are rarely treated to the heat-wave-type weather I live with all summer long. This post contains a round up of ways to cool off when it feels like the burning cauldron of Hell outside your door (or inside it, if you don’t have air conditioning.)
A repost today in honor of the 100-plus degree temperatures we are experiencing in Hell, I mean, South Carolina. Much of the US is suffering right along with us. Here’s to cooling off! And, if you like it here, please subscribe in the upper right-hand corner and share with your friends.
This week, stories inspired by One Cool Blow. Because, there are so many possible meanings. If you think you know the origin of One Cool Blow, play along until the end of the week to let others draw their own conclusions, though today’s reveals the true meaning for me. To follow the series from the first post, click here. Thanks for continuing to Click the Cootchie.
He never clocked how far he walked. Restless energy and scotch: they always sent his legs jittering past his car. Toward the scent of sulfur and mud. Waving grass and the twisted arms of live oaks, bowing along the edge of the marsh. His favorite spot to merge with the landscape, to sit and have his only smoke of the day.
The pulsing breeze always made it hard to light his cigarette. Every time, he had to shield himself behind the gnarled trunk that dwarfed him and cup his hand around the dancing flame. When it licked him, he remembered how he escaped. Again. Avoided being burned by the likes of the curve of her hips and big hair. One deep drag of smoke blew away and spelled out the fervor of her wave. It wasn’t casual. No, she’d wanted him to see.
He leaned back on a twisted oak branch, bigger around than he was, and stared at the sky fluttering through the canopy of leaves and mist of exhaled smoke. Wishing for a star to give him the right words, the right moves that would make her his. Saying Scotch. Neat. night after night after night, charging up on the brush of her fingers and the bend of her backside clearly wasn’t getting him anywhere.
Shifting his recline, he listened to the stillness. Grass rubbed together in the wind like an orchestra of rustling strings. He loosened his tie and extinguished his light, leaning into the blow, letting it encircle him, whisper the right words to say. Cool blows off the marsh were magic on a hot summer night in the South. They penetrated the thick air and licked dewey faces. Brought a fresh blast of relief. They even spoke secrets to supplicants, lost and lonely souls who needed a cool blow of air to blast their souls clean. Sometimes, they worked miracles, like bringing her voice to him in shifting strains before he saw her, shimmering in the moonlight under the shadow of his live oak tree.
Living on the East Coast of the United States is always a riot this time of year. Every time I catch a blip of a weather forecast, I want to pick up whatever device happens to be broadcasting it and hurl it far, far away from me. Maybe I hope the center of the *hurricane*tornado*flood*drought*volcanic eruption*lightning strike*tsunami* – insert your disaster of choice, Dear Reader – hits the overwrought forecaster right between the eyes. “The News” in general drives me bonkers.
I know. I know. News stations have to attract viewers, and hysteria and mayhem does seem to sell. Every cloud that comes off the West Coast of Africa COULD become a Category Five hurricane, and the eye of it COULD hit my at-sea-level city, and that COULD happen at high tide, and that COULD cause mammoth death and destruction. If I’m not catching a random weather prognostication, I’m bombarded in my social media news feeds with minute-by-minute updates of all the things that COULD happen if this jet stream lines up with that pocket of high pressure. I’ve heard this song-and-dance at least ten times a hurricane season for the past twenty years. It makes it hard to care.
And, that’s a problem. Not caring about potential disasters that COULD hurl me into oblivion and kill me is a problem. (Hyperactive, overblown, ratings-driven, reality-show-based pseudo news is the real problem. No one can say I don’t have opinions.)
For all of you who are in major freak-out mode over hurricanes, please, PLEASE, PLEASE read the following sentences carefully. The National Hurricane Center provides storm updates several times a day. All weather forecasters EVERYWHERE in the United States get their information from the NHC. They’re the ones that coordinate the hurricane hunters. They have all the modeling software. They’re IT. Because they’re scientists, the information is a mite on the dry side, but I’ll take that over ramped-up hot air that’s designed to horrify. Here is a link to their informative site: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.
What’s even more ridiculous is I was just having a conversation yesterday. About EARTHQUAKES.
Yesterday morning at 9:30am, I was venting about how nobody in my sitting-smack-on-a-major-earthquake-fault town seems to care about preparing for major tremors. Meaning the house in which you live may not be safe. The building where you spend your work day could collapse, burying you or someone you love in a heap of rubble. The unsettling events of yesterday make that a slightly-more-thinkable thought for many on my side of North America.
On my part of the globe, the last major quake struck in 1886. At 7.3, it was felt as far away as New England and the Midwest. Unless fortified to withstand it, any structure that survived the last earthquake will crumble. The death toll could be in the thousands, maybe even the tens of thousands. The disaster cone for a quake of that magnitude could spread its tentacles beyond the epicenter.
But, I’m sure I’m being hysterical.