Wednesday, July 27, 2005

This morning was brutally hot, as it has been for the previous couple of days. Walk outside and summer sits on your shoulders, weighing you down, slapping you with heat. As I drank my orange juice this morning, I looked at my backyard and realized I hadn’t watered in a few days. Everything looked pretty good—I have a few pots, and the plants in them weren’t collapsed like dead soldiers—but I knew they’d need water.

Well. Work’s been very quiet lately, so I slipped home at lunch and spent half an hour watering. This might strike some as a horrid, boring chore, but I enjoyed it. Fun to imagine the grateful plants slurping up this life-giving liquid: Thank you, benevolent god, for this sustenance! they might have said.

OK, maybe I stood out in the sun too long.

Anyvay. Went back to work, helped out with some computer problems (and that’s fun, too, since I know what I’m talking about and can just calmly offer suggestions), and by the end of the day was very much ready to go home. Stopped off at a nearby grocery store, Wegman’s, and grabbed half a cart of prosaic grocery store items: beef, broccoli (guess what Chinese dish I’m making this weekend?), more orange juice, paper towels, a catfish filet, band-aids, bird seed, cotton balls. The latter were named something ridiculously generic like “soft swabs”…and I looked closely and discovered that it’s because they’re not 100% cotton any more; part synthetic. 80% recycled steel wool, for all I know.

I mention this list because when I’m checking out, I sometimes look at my purchases and wonder what they say about me. If I have friends coming over, seventy percent of my purchases are potato chips and soda, and if I’m unlucky enough to also be buying a carton of ice cream for myself and a box of stack of frozen dinners, I feel like yet another unhealthy bachelor.

But I can’t very well pull out pictures of my refrigerator and show the clerk the normal set of vegetables, fresh eggs, and meats in there, and that my cupboards are mostly oils, various sugars, flour, rice, etc. Because I get the oddest looks when I do that.


So I took my half-full cart outside…into the pouring rain. It was as though God had said to himself, “Shoot! I forgot to water Virginia!” and dumped a bucket on us. If it had been raining any harder, I would have been looking for a twister.

I looked at my basket: two full loads there. I looked back at the rain, and said to myself, “Oh well.” Grabbed two handfuls of bags, ran to the truck, tossed the bags in, and by the time I was back, I was completely soaked through. The return was more leisurely; the rain couldn’t get me any more wet. I was tempted to strip off my shirt when I got into the car, but (A) the sight of my white, naked chest would frighten passing motorists, and (B) I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do in public. We have shirts for a reason. I got into the truck, turned up the heat, and I was fine.

Got home, looked at the waterlogged garden, and thought: I’m so glad I came home from work at lunch to water my garden. Oh well; I really did enjoy myself, and who can live their lives at full efficiency?

Then, a good evening: changed into dry clothes, re-uploaded the Summer Storm artwork for a poster (and there’s a story), made a few phone calls, and watched two episodes of a Flash Gordon serial (and there’s another story).

And then, bed.

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