August Slumbers On
It's the kind of day in high summer so lazy that the only sound outside is the buzz of afternoon cicadas and low-flying planes. A bird-cry in the distance. Dark green leaves turning transparent in the sunlight. A clock in the living room ticking. The reluctant sound of a lawnmower a block down.
August is the month that overstays its welcome. Days stretch like white taffy. It's all anticipation - kids going off to college for the first time, or getting ready to move into new apartments. Cities empty out like an exhale before fall starts. In New York, a black SUV stuffed with Belvedere and coke drags a cop down Broadway through six pedestriations and an armored car before crashing into the Mercedes-Benz of hip-hop mogul Damon Dash, probably out of boredom more than anything else. NYC gets all excited a few days later over some heroin overdoses in the hopes that it's an epidemic of viciously poisoned smack, but it turns out it was just Belushi speedballs killing a couple college kids, and not Osama Bin-Laden at it again.
Elsewhere, my local paper reports that down in East Texas dueling pro- and anti-war rallies are facing each other down like some dusty southern West Side Story, if the Jets and the Sharks had seven fewer years of jazz tap and relatives dodging bullets in the Middle East. August strikes in Texas too, and so mostly folks are scrambling for shade like scrambled tricolor eggs in the sun, ocassionally mustering the strength to wave a sign for the news cameras. Some barre chords drift through the air. A couple pro-war Jets with a satirical bit of placarding - "Say No to War - Unless A Democrat Is President" - get misread by about three hundred flagwavers squinting in the sun who can only read the top half, and so the greater part of the afternoon is taken up by a circus-type chase involving Bush supporters catching up to and tearing up the signs of two more Bush supporters over protestations that they're all on the same side.
I pop another painkiller and adjust the frozen vegetables on my face.