They say you can never go Home...

Soldiers of Sparta were allowed to return home after lost battles, only if carried dead upon their shields. I'm convinced this is a more practical and time-saving way to go about it.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Calm

I don't know what it is about the next day after a hurricane, but I would imagine it is different, depending on who was "lucky" enough, geographically speaking, to run into it first. For example, those poor people in Jupiter and Vero Beach have simply been pummeled. Do they crawl out of the woodwork; survey the damage with an overwhelming sense of loss and despair? Or do they crawl out of the woodwork, and survey the damage with an overwhelming sense of loss and gratitude?

We Tampons (or is it Tampanians?) on the Gulf Side got a solid smacking-around, but have, through all of these hurricanes, fared nothing less than miraculously, and with better outcome than nearly all of the Floridian metropoles.

Tampa is still a decent-sized mess, however. Traffic lights are out, there's some flooding danger, and utility trucks are driving around in long, emergency-light-flashing processions, and occasionally there is the siren of a fire truck, ostensibly racing to the site of a fallen live wire. However, while driving to the local coffee shop this morning, a measurable sense of peace was registered by me.

The sky somehow seems a bit clearer and brighter, the temperature outside is a wonderfully balmy 87 degrees, and there is a strong breeze blowing. Traffic is light, and despite the traffic lights that are out, drivers are remarkably courteous for a change. I accidentally cut someone off while exiting the golf course today and they smiled and waved, as I gave my best impression of a penitent asshole that has just realized the error of his driving ways.

It's a palpable sense of calm, I tell you.

I'm not sure, but I would guess the provenance of this attitude springs from the fact that many of us were cooped up with the rest of the family for nearly the whole weekend, due to everything being closed.

My brother, who would otherwise be engaging in local hooliganism, logged his hours at home for a change. While I was pretending to study, he came by and suggested we pull out the Legos. After having ensured that my blinds were pulled and prying eyes would not be able to detect my rapid regression into a pimply-faced childhood, I joined my brother in constructing the Lego Castles of Our Past.

At some point, I pulled a Star Trek phaser out of the cardboard box that stowed these Legos, and showed it to my brother. "Remember this?" I said.

"Yeah," he replied. "I remember when you made me buy that for you."

"What are you talking about?"

"You were like, in the 8th grade or something, and you were too embarrassed to buy it yourself."

"No way. I don't remember that!'

"Yes way, dipshit" he said. "And the matching communicator too."

I was newly struck with my complete lack of coolness as a kid (as if I had never encountered it before).

However, it was raining like crazy outside, and there were Elven Fortresses to construct, and for the moment, I put aside my past and present lame-osity and concentrate fully on finding the grey hinge piece that had eluded me for the past 10 minutes.