The non-chronological collected works of my misspent youth, with notes, for your reading pleasure. Most names have been changed because I probably didn't ask you first.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Rock You Like a Hurricane: September 7ish, 1996

Dealing with a hurricane this far inland feels completely wrong. We haven’t had power or phones in three days and yet I can’t even smell the sea in the eye of the storm. It’s bullshit is what it is. 

Funny. You never realize how addicted you are to modern conveniences[1] until you don’t have them at all. If MRWHM and I don’t burn down the house before Duke Power gets their shit together and gives us air conditioning again, it will be a small miracle. At least we didn’t get stuck in the elevators like the people in the high-rises on campus. That would have sucked.

Fran was my first real hurricane, because I’m a mountain girl. I kind of thought the tall trees on Elm would come all the way through my windows during the worst part of the storm. They didn’t, even though the wind sounded like a freight train and I went to sleep with my sheets pulled over my head thinking the roof might cave in before morning. I’d miss my records but otherwise I’d be okay with that. I even kind of thought MRWHM might start being my friend again because it’s a crisis. And crises are supposed to bring us together.

Of course, she’s coastal and has lived through many weather events. She tells stories three-day long hurricane parties and freshwater stored in an old clawfoot tub on the front porch. I don’t have any stories about anything other than the one time my school bus slid backward down Kimberly Avenue because of a snowstorm.

In other news Dad came to visit tonight on his way back from Durham. He drove in the day after the hurricane went to meet with some head of brain surgery at Duke Hospitals about his mysterious dizzy spells that he’s positive are symptomatic of a brain tumor.[2] I’m sure it’s just hypochondria and an outgrowth (no pun) what happened with Uncle W.[3]

According to Dad, East Campus is kind of mess— and lots of trees are down in Durham, in general—but his brain is fine. The doctor told him he should play more golf. [4]

He took MRWHM and I to dinner at the Paisley Pineapple, which was self-consciously fancy in all the provincial gauche ways its name implies. Lots of brocade and teal and they have things like kangaroo on the menu. MRWHM took the last few hits of acid she’s been keeping[5] just before Dad came by to take us to dinner, which she didn’t tell me until we were approximately halfway through dinner. I don’t think Dad noticed anything  . . . I mean, he’s Dad . . . but I couldn’t let it go.

“What if I was tripping the whole time your parents were visiting?” I asked her.

She shrugged and told me she wouldn’t care at all.

After dinner and Dad left, she and I went for a walk down in completely dark, power-outed, downed tree-branched Fisher Park, which she found (obviously) infinitely more interesting than I did, given the circumstances.

It’s achingly hot and extremely uncomfortable to sit on this fire escape. I just dropped a flashlight on a BMW that probably belongs to one of the lawyers in the firm next door. I can’t tell if I dented the hood.  It sounded pretty loud.  I hope they don’t have security cameras in the parking lot because there’s no way I can afford to pay for that.

[1]And we’d only recently procured a modem. In those days, save the occasional email, I was almost never online.

[2] For the better part of that year my father basically lived out the Woody Allen plotline from “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

[3] My favorite uncle on that side of the family actually had a brain tumor, underwent surgery, flatlined for a minute and then miraculously revived on the operating table.

[4] True.

[5] My roommate had been saving several tabs of acid for a rainy day for several months before this happened. She wrapped them in aluminum foil and hid the package inside the butter dish on the refrigerator door.  I used to worry a little about this storage situation leading to an unanticipated psychedelic grilled cheese episode, but it never did.

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