Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Right now, were in the middle of our monsoon season. Which means, every day from now until some time in August, our days start off with the best of summertime intentions – sunny, clear, hot – and end in a swirl of violent storms. Come about 1:00 p.m., skies darken to bruise-colored purple, rain falls in sheets, hail in buckets, and the boom of thunder and the flash of lightening send Ivan to winding himself underfoot and Maddie to stuffing herself into the tiniest space in the house she can find.
Some days don't even bother to pretend they're going to be nice. They start off bad from the get go. Like yesterday. When I had to run into down for a ten o'clock appointment, then lunch, then a few quick errands before heading home to finish an assignment.
I was dodging the skies all day and by the time I got to my last stop – Home Depot for light bulbs and a flat of pansies – it looked like I was losing. The mountains to the east were completely obscured by a heavy curtain of rain. And it was headed my way.
All around me in the parking lot, heads poked out of car doors like gophers weighing their chances against a patrolling hound. Stay? Go? Wait it out? Play a game of beat the clock and chance the ruination of linen suits and skimpy shoes and leather bags, because, well, this happens every year but our collective amnesia means that no one in New Mexico even owns an umbrella and if they do, who remembers to unpack it from the golf clubs and put it in the car?
I decided to take my chances. Just as I scooted in between the opening automatic doors, it hit. The gal manning the returns counter pointed upward, beamed me a beatific smile, and mouthed something barely audible. If you've ever been out in public in New Mexico when a monsoonal thunderstorm hits, the last thing you'll hear before the machine-gun rat-a-tat-tatting obliterates all ambient sounds is the ubiquitous refrain: "We need it!"
It should be our state motto.
I gave the returns gal an obligatory nod of the head and grabbed my bulbs. But the pansies were out in the garden section, which was protected by a simple canvas canopy stretched over a steel frame. Would the flimsy roofing hold?
I decided to risk it again, and as I headed towards my goal, a loud whoosh sounded from above. I looked up in time to avert a long stream of water that had broken through a gap in the roof. Instead of falling on my head, though, it was soaking a shopping cart that was parked next to the pansy flats. Moving quickly, I grabbed the cart and pulled it out of the stream, which resulted in an immediate and thankful response from its owner.
Who turned out to be a nun.
"Bless you, my child," she said, and flashed me some teeth.
To which I could only smile in return and then dumbly reply, "You, too."
Note to self in the car on the way home: "Bless you" is not synonymous with "have a nice day."