Monday, July 07, 2003

I was talking to my friend Felix on the phone last night and looked out the window to see the trees bent over almost 90 degrees from a violent wind. Just seconds ago when I'd looked out before, the trees had been standing still with the occasional sway from a light breeze.

Lightning flashed, thunder boomed, then a torrential downpour unleashed itself on the city. The large heavy drops were no match for the wicked wind, which blew them horizontally down the caverns of rowhouses. I bid my friend goodbye, then walked downstairs to hear, feel, and smell nature's tantrum.

I took this photo with my digital camera, holding the large heavy wooden door open as the wind pounded on it from behind. The wind would gust, then be still, gust, then be still. I tried to steady my hand, but in the conditions it was near impossible. Spray dotted my view finder as the rain beat against the door like strong sea waves. I wiped it off with my shirt, and took more photos.

The damp smell of torrential rain is luxurious to me. When it rains, especially that hard, the sky is connecting with the earth through ribbons of water. Earth and sky are touching each other for a brief love affair, and we are in the middle of it, caught in the meeting of the titans. Sometimes it is gentle, other times it is passionate and ferocious.

And all we can do when they decide to converge, is hold on. Or in my case, meet it on its terms.

I've had my own sudden onsets of fury, mostly happening at work. A couple of times I've wanted to go into the safe room and throw a couple of good tantrums, but don't. Today and yesterday, I wanted to leave work. Sunday, I didn't show up at all.

Today was particularly a struggle, since it was my second early morning in a row and to say that I'm burnt out on the place is an understatement. I've been there nine months, and I'm ready to be born. I've been subconsciously doing mild forms of protest, showing up late or in Sunday's case not at all.

Today I pulled a real beauty and fell asleep during my lunch hour on the bench outside the store. Conditions were ripe for it, a mostly overcast day with holes of blue peeking through the clouds, a soft caressing wind and moist, but not too warm air. Pure comfort and serenity. I secured my hand around my purse, laid my head back and succumbed to my fatigue. I had on a pair of sunglasses that cloaked my eyes, so aside from my slack jaw, it wasn't obvious that I was snoozing. Luckily, I awoke and walked back into the store, through the waddling landbarges, squealing kids, freaking weirdos, badly teased hair crowning cackling women, their gaping bright lipsticked maws revealing grey teeth with more than one gap, ruddy, beaten down men with blank stares looking for their wives, then turning toward the sound of the cackling like a dog who just heard his master's keys at the door, and the occasional but rare regular Joes and Janes just in time to take the helm at the cash wrap.

Did I mention I work in a bookstore, and not Kmart? I'm in the process of looking for a new job, the details that I cannot mention here for fear of jinxing it, and I think the nibbles that I've gotten have made me even more impatient with my current situation. Prone to fits of wanting to punch the wall, or the next sparsely toothed person who says, "must be free" when their bargain book won't scan on the first try. The damage wouldn't be that extensive, as I'd just be knocking the remaining teeth out of their skull that their dental neglect hasn't touched yet.

Many times, I've wondered why I stayed so long. However, perhaps it was necessary for me to get pissed off in order to get on with the program. To feel like that kid again in Topeka who wanted, no HAD to get the fuck out as fast as she could. For me, anger is not a bad thing. It's a motivator. It taps me on the shoulder and tells me to get on with it, and goads me if I fail to heed its urging.

Today, it goaded me. In the morning when looking at the vast ugly complex of the mall, during the morning meeting as I half listened to the managers try to motivate the staff. It goaded me at lunch when I sat on the bench and watched rural Maryland pass by. It stood uncomfortably close to me as a line formed out to the magazines, and snickered when despite several calls for backup cashiers, no one came. It whispered in my ear, reminding me of people who had it better, of when I had it better, of chances I'd missed and opportunities I'd not recognized. Of better times when I went to work every day with smart and innovative people, or when I'd drive up the Pacific Coast Highway in my AudiTT Roadster, top down, the ocean on one side, and the Malibu Cliffs on the other. It hissed, "Bet you never saw this coming during those good times. No one in this line knows that girl ever existed. And moreover, you put yourself here. No one put you here, but you."

And that's when I turn around to face that anger, and say, "You're right, and you're going to help me get out."