Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lessons Learned

Last night I dreamed I was shopping for canoes with a coworker. But the canoes in the variety store last night were of a very inferior quality - rather small and flimsy, bearing perhaps more resemblance to keychains than to watercraft. And they were so cheaply made that when you picked them up, all the flocking rubbed off and left a green mess on your fingers.

I'm so glad the call center closed today.

One of the things I've learned from this experience is that in the future, hurricanes should strike somewhere else. I'd like the NWS to make a note of this for next time. I've never had a problem with the upper Gulf Coast; but Dallas could do with a little smiting, don't you think?

I might not care much for Corpus, but I do have a few friends there, so it's important that they be safe. Still, the northern end of Padre Island might not suffer too badly from a direct hit.

I've been all over that region, of course - to Mustang Island, and Port A, and Padre Island National Seashore. It's beautiful in its way - salty winds, empty skies, grayish sands, spongy beached seaweed and jellyfish, all the hungry seagulls in the universe, and tiny crabs that scuttle sideways out of your path with amazing rapidity, leaving random tracks in the wet sand before disappearing into millions of little holes that they dig out only as fast as the lapping waves fill them in.

And the tall dunes are no-man's land, impassable because the sand slides out from under your feet, and pockmarks of burrows among the pepper-scented beach grasses remind you that you're in snake territory, and anyway where would you go? Every dune looks just like every other one.

Most of it is in its wild condition - a fairly logical condition for a barrier island. Streets and houses and parking lots and (Port Aransas, you dumbass) golf courses kill the beach grass whose roots are what's holding the sand in place.

But at the northern end, across the causeway from Flour Bluff, a handful of moderately wealthy people have built their homes, digging out chunks of the island, their neighborhoods honeycombed with tiny private bays for their boats, the brownish-gray water dull next to the turquoise gleam of the swimming pools. The owner of my former employer lives there. I heard a story about her once.

Ursula was a cruel person and not a pretty one, with bleached-blond hair, an unfortunate (not to say disastrous) physique, and a vicious, unpredictable temper - the Emperor of Rome at its most decadent and chaotic. Her husband was the vice president of her company. He was jovial and friendly, but had a tendency to hug the female employees a little too tightly. When you hug someone you aren't on intimate terms with (or don't want to be on intimate terms with, anyway), you kind of stick your butt out, you know how you do? And you generally try not to have your tits squished. Hug != mammogram, and not only because the results aren't as accurate.

Whereas Mr. Ursula could probably give you a detailed topographical map of your internal breast tissue within sixty seconds. Anyway, the story I heard was that the neighbors called the police to complain about Ursula and her husband. It wasn't a matter of noise - or it if was, that was an entirely secondary consideration. The police came out to tell Ursula's husband that please, please, when he and his wife were enjoying the sunny weather on the patio by the pool, he needed to - well, he needed to enjoy nothing else besides the sunny weather. At least not with his tongue.

So if the hurricane had hit the north end of Padre Island, it would only have wiped out those who deserved to be dead, and maybe a few others who devoutly wished to be.

"How are you doing today?" asked a coworker today; "can I help you with anything? Because yesterday, you looked like you were ready to punch a kitten."

We'll hope this got it out of my system, but I don't think I'll go canoe-shopping for a while.

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