My various spam filters are crafty enough that I usually don't see the junk that bombards my e-mail account (often through my old Cornell address, which still forwards to my active address). But occasionally one will worm its way through. Tonight, in fact, the one that popped in was addressed to the all-employee distribution list on campus, which seems problematic to me. However, it contains a couple of great lines, so I'm not complaining. First, it kicks off (after a snappy hello!) with the request I've lodged in my title: "Please open your mind for a simple thing." And who couldn't use that mantra, really? Opening my mind for little things is an alternate way of describing my vocation. The other great line, which gets used twice, is "You may agree or not, but this is a fact." (Need I tell you that this e-mail is hawking some kind of half-price drugs? Does anyone actually buy drugs through these e-mails? And did you read the New Yorker article about the man who actually responded to one of the Nigerian money shuffling e-mails that have been around for years? And have I told you that I don't seem to be able to stop starting sentences with "There was a great article in the New Yorker..."?)
I have many potential stories for tonight, but my mind is a jumble; I spent the evening in Columbus having my hair cut and dining with a friend who lives in a truly lovely part of the city. On the way home, I skirted the airport from just the right direction to see one runway/taxiway's whole set of lights (the blue ones are my favorites), but I also drove through intermittently heavy rain over already slickdarkened streets, nothing on the ground being illuminated by the lightning whipping its rooty tentacles across the sky over and over, and over. My original title for this post: What is this charge in the air? Everything feels the slightest bit electric; everything has shifted three paces to the left and turned counter-clockwise 45 degrees, possibly in part because the playlist I'd whimsically picked out for the drive is a bizarre collection of sassy and off-kilter love songs, including Nouvelle Vague's deeply weird "This is Not a Love Song."
The whole trip back, the roads steamed, cooling as the rain passed southward, back the way I had just come. The roads steamed the way the swimming pool used to steam on cool mornings, the way it steamed the night my team came home late from another loss (we always lost; we had no indoor pool) when I was very young and fast and spent bus trips belting out Chicago's "You're the Inspiration" with all the other girls, only I knew all the words and the harmonies too. Traveling over rural roads late at night, one encounters barns and buildings--but especially barns--as sudden geometries, the shapes of solidity itself, swiftly there, then swiftly not-there, velocity's darkness swallowing them wholly.
The day we drove to western Iowa, we drove home for hours with lightning raging through the darkness all around; the winds were so high that we feared tornadoes, in the dark. Instead there was just rain, and more rain, buckets full, drops as big as shots tossed back, bottoms up. My night vision is terrible, just terrible, but my wakefulness behind the wheel is formidable, and so I ended up driving us most of the way through that slapping rain, heavy punisher.
The other story I want to tell you is about wooden spoons. But that's the one that will wait, now that I'm tired. I will perhaps have to go back to writing during the afternoons or even the mornings; I seem to get awfully tired at night these days. So, please open your mind for a simple thing: I suspect you'll hear about wooden spoons tomorrow, if you're around.