Monday, July 12, 2010

Sweating in Manhattan

Yes, well, this weather is beyond belief vile. Let's all be clear on the fact that I DO NOT DO HUMIDITY. I most particularly do not do it when it's coupled with 90 degree temperatures.

I had a wonderful couple of days lounging around the pool in Connecticut. Lots of deeply cool people to talk with, lots of food and booze, and just a lovely time all around. There was even something that my pal Philippe thinks is a dog...although as it's a teacup Yorkie, I do rather question this. Something that weighs a whole pound and a half doesn't actually qualify as a dog in my worldview...I tend to think that these things are members of the rat family. When they get to be about cocker spaniel size, I admit them into the canine group. But for what looked mostly like a dustmop for a dollhouse, it was fairly cute. What WAS amusing was watching Philippe play with the dog, since Philippe is 6'5". The effect was lovely, since the dog (?) occupies about half of the palm of Philippe's hand.

Then back to Manhattan on Sunday night, into the hell of last week. It was 103 on Monday or Tuesday, and it didn't go much below that all week. I didn't even bother to leave the house until Friday, except to go to the deli, since one must have one's newspapers, cigarettes and diet soda...and even then I was gasping for air after I got home from this five minute excursion. It was what we called, when I was a girl in Chicago, tornado weather.

Unless you grew up in the Midwest, you have no idea. I used to love curling up on the porch swing with iced tea and a book, just watching the sky first boil, then turn this odd green color, and then torrential rain and crashing thunder and huge lightning bolts...and every now and then, far off you could see an actual funnel. It was WONDERFUL.

But so far, New York has sullenly refused to rain. It gets black, the wind picks up, you get a few puffs of that nice cool thunderstorm breeze...and then it may possibly spit a few drops, and the whole thing sweeps away and you're left with NOTHING. We had a nice heavyish rain on Tuesday, I think, for all of ten minutes, and yesterday it rained for a whole twenty minutes...very gently...and tonight it spat in a half hearted fashion for about five minutes. That's been IT.

And the air is so desperate for a storm. It smells used, exhausted, worn out. The rain is all around us, and you can see it when you go to, which is fascinating. All around us, everywhere, the radar screen shows huge clouds. Except around Manhattan, which is a pristine circle of perfectly clear air. And we are gasping for rain.

Meanwhile, a group of Muslims are trying to build a mosque near the World Trade Center, and people are terribly up in arms about it. This is ridiculous. I'm not afraid of the nice Muslim people who are trying to show that not all of them are madmen. I'm deeply afraid FOR them if they go on with this plan. American extremists would have the thing bombed the instant it went up, for God's sake...and they'd wait until it was full of worshippers. And then pat themselves on the back for "removing the threat."

Did you know that there is somewhere in our lovely, deeply conflicted and half-mad country where they are trying to make it legal to carry your gun into CHURCH? There is an actual clergyman involved here who thinks it's a fine idea. Now, admittedly, I have on occasion felt the need for SOME sort of deterrent for long winded badly spoken sermons, but surely a peashooter would suffice?

What on God's green earth have we turned into? Guns in church? There are communities across the nation who feel it's a terrific idea to be able to carry sidearms openly. This doesn't sound like my country...this sounds like one of Stephen King's more apocalyptic novels (I'm rereading The Stand). I'm now afraid to run to the all night deli that's across the street from my house if it's dark out because the streets around my extremely wealthy neighborhood simply aren't safe for a middle-aged lady after dark (yeah, I know I'm 65, but I intend to stay middle aged until I'm 90...THEN I'll get old).

And you know, I think it really is "the economy, stupid." There is a helplessness that's engendered by finding your eternal verities completely upset. You have worked for the same company for 40 years, or 20 years, and you're looking forward to your pension and your retirement, and you've got your home, and your RV, and you and your wife are going to see some nice country, and all you need are those last few payments on that house and that RV, and then you can relax...and whoops. You're laid off. Those last few payments aren't coming. Your wife's job (well, you know, just for a few more bucks, and the kids are grown anyway) disappears. And Social Security, that looked so good, doesn't any more, because you've had to use most of those monthly payments. Then the bank forecloses on your house, and the RV gets repossessed because you sure as hell can't make THOSE payments, and...

Yeah. And. And. There goes your life. Your ENTIRE life.

So yes, I can understand why those sidearms at your hips could look really attractive. There's crime out there, you know, you gotta protect yourself, you gotta keep your street safe...and maybe, just maybe, with that gun on your hip, there might be SOMETHING, ANYTHING, anything at all, dear God, that you COULD be in charge of, because you've been in charge all your life and you've taken care of your family, and now you're not, and you can't, and there's nothing in front of you, and there are no jobs...

Guns aren't the answer. This way leads to madness and anarchy. Now is the time when we have to find a way that involves cooperation, and caring, and helping. Leave the gun at home. Go make a casserole. You know that family down the street, the ones with the ten kids, and they've both been laid off for months, and the unemployment ran out? Go take that casserole over there. Offer to babysit. Help the mom with dressing up a little for...please God...a job interview. Know anybody in the dad's business? Help him network a bit.

Caring and helping are answers. Guns are an unthinking response that won't help.

Love, Wendy


SaintTigerlily said...

Some kid stabbed another kid over sneakers this weekend in my neighborhood. Guns are just a symptom. The world and people have gone crazy.

Anonymous said...

I'm just here to say . . . we did NOT see funnels. From your front porch or anywhere. Even in the far distance. We lived a mile from the lake; all tornadoes got confused and dissipated when they approached the lake. The funnels you remember are the ones we heard about on the radio. That little, tinny radio that made everything sound like it was in the distance.
Alternatively, you are having an aural flashback to the 10:30 Tuesday Emergency test -- this is just a test; if there was a real emergency, you already would be annihilated -- horn.
Very much like a funnel cloud, but far more reliable week in & week out.