In the continuance of missing North Carolina, I am having a cheap beer this evening after ducking out of a social engagement, which I decided was not going to be that engaging. I need some quiet these days, work is overstimulating and requires all my analytical skills. Pushing those analytical skills further to navigate a crowd at a concert on a night where I have to stay sober to get back to the overstimulating work tomorrow seem doable until I started to randomly itch all over and realized I was probably allergic to that task.
Hurricane Irene, lend us some rain, baby. For the ground is dry, and we itch with crankiness.
In my party fridge, alongside a sad defunct plastic case of baby spinach, sits a lone PBR left over from a tubing trip a couple of months ago. Allowing myself this one little recompense, it occurs to me that whenever I accidentally get a mouthful of Hyco Lake, it tastes a little bit like this. Light, warm and cheap. It probably also tastes like a lot of strangers' urine. There, I had to go and ruin the whole poetic PBR analogy.
Our neighbor at Hyco never used his shower. He kept stacks of Ivory soap bars on the deck next to cooler perpetually full of Miller Lite. Mornings and evenings he took his baths in the water. "I'd come up and kiss you sweetheart," he would yell from below as I pulled into the long treacherous drive after 14 hours behind the wheel, "but I'm buck naked."
During dry summers, what looked like soap scum appeared for miles around the lake marking the water level.
The swimmer is now dead and gone, but I am told the soap scum remains as a fitting tribute. I am missing it and the source this year, having been denied a few days back in our wilderness. It's not like me to miss North Carolina so much. I blame being in a city for too long. Despite its green spaces, New Orleans can be stifling in August with the heat and people. I feel heavy, drowsy and clumsy and have a strange longing to actually walk up a hill. The one thing New Orleans lacks to make me happy.
Maybe I am thinking of North Carolina as Irene hits its shores. Today I read a news article where a sheriff in Morehead City made a point to advertise the number of body bags he had ordered to all the residents who were insisting on staying. Unlike many Katrina victims, these people actually have places to go but North Carolinians have a stubborn love of their property.
"We may have to drag your dead body out of the yard when all's said and done," said the sheriff.
"Well," they probably think, "at least it's our yard."