Smile and Nod

Smile and Nod: That Which Does Not Matter

Russ Pitts | 31 Mar 2008 17:00
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A week ago Saturday, I was in Jamaica. It was wonderful. No, allow me to be more precise: It was absolutely, incredibly wonderful. Every evening a few clouds rolled in and we got a nice, warm rain shower, but the clouds didn't last and by the next morning the sky was blue again, the weather warm, the ocean perfect and the drinks served with just the right amount of rum and obsequiousness. No computers, no deadlines and no videogames. It was like being in paradise on Earth.

So when I returned home to North Carolina (it's been two years, and I still have trouble typing that with a straight face) and all of the mundane trappings of life and job, imagine the depth of my depression when I discovered it still wasn't spring. Worse, it was raining. Still worse, there wasn't anyone waiting outside my house to carry my bags and help me out of the bus. No bus either - I had to drive myself.

But all of that would have been forgivable if it wasn't for the weather. Last year was a sunny year. By the end of March, temperatures were already well into the 70s, and the flora and fauna were entering that "we're happy to be alive" phase, practically joining hand to leaf and singing "here comes the sun, doo doo doodoo." Not this year. When I left, it was still cold and crappy. I was hoping by the time I got back things would be different, but no dice. I left Jamaica wearing a short sleeved silk shirt and a pair of linen trousers, and the short run from the tiny regional jet that brought me to North Carolina to the airport terminal practically froze me. Spring had not arrived.

The next day it rained. That cold, miserable, constant drizzle peculiar to winter months that seeps into your bones and makes it feel about 20 degrees cooler than it actually is. It was like June in San Francisco. I spent my first few days back in a blue funk, wondering why I hadn't taken advantage of my month-long visa and built a little shack of my own under a mangrove tree. Wondering why I'd been so bold as to pack away my winter clothing. Wondering where I'd put the sangria.

Thankfully it didn't last. By the end of last week, the weather had turned glorious. Eighty degrees, sunny, dry ... spring had finally come. Cue rabbits singing the Beatles. I was convinced it was a sign. Convinced I should extend my week without games and computers. Convinced I'd rediscovered "what's important," and that I needed nothing more than to run rapidly away from everything that chained me to a desk or a couch. I started shopping for a sailboat, planned to take the dog to the park (every day if possible!) and enjoyed, for once, the thought of actually leaving the house. There was only one problem: I couldn't drag my mind out of the entertainment tar pit that is Oblivion.

The solution? A mass of cool air preceded by a rapidly moving band of warmer air and the interaction between the two. Or, as my mother would call it, a cold front.

Starting early Saturday, the day I'd planned to put on shoes and pants bright and early and actually leave the house, reveling in my newfound will to live, the weather here in Russville turned from glorious to gross. I had to wear a coat and gloves to walk the dog, who, aside from a momentary curiosity about in the mockingbird hiding in a tree, seemed even less thrilled about the weather than I was.

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