Stages of an Arizona monsoon, while driving in it:
Stage One: Threat Level Alpha
The skies darken ominously. High winds try to toss the car across the road.
Stage Two: Assault
Fat drops of rain begin to pelt the car.
Stage Three: Wading
The roads begin to puddle over. Traffic slows.
Stage Four: White Out
The black sky has changed but nothing is truly visible in this light.
Stage Five: Revelations
You turn the radio off because you can’t hear it anyway. Jesus reaches for a life preserver.
Stage Six: Equilibrium
The clouds slink off to do their dirty work elsewhere.
Total elapsed time of monsoon: 15 minutes.
PS. Humidity level today = 55%!! *dies*
Beau looked out the window and said, “Oh my God, the trees are doing this,” and he took his hand, flat palmed, and moved it from a vertical position to a horizontal one in a quick gesture.
We looked out the window. The lights across the parking lot were subdued into a moon-like glow, as though someone placed a thin layer of Vaseline across the lenses of our eyes, or as if we were the kind of men who suffered cataracts or macular degeneration. There was no one in the parking lot, just lines of cars huddled shoulder to shoulder under the corrugated metal carports.
The cat danced onto the coffee table, and Arden shuffled around nervously, watching her.
“It’s a dust storm,” Beau said finally. The palm trees bent so far to the side it seemed they would snap, their thin trunks too lean to withstand the force of the wind.
I opened the patio door and stepped outside. The air was still warm, but the strong wind was doing its best to cool the night. The shaking leaves made a collective sound like rushing water, a preamble to the monsoon we knew was coming. Off in the distance I heard the first warnings of thunder.
I needed rain. I needed something uncontrollable to hit me, without apology, and then to leave. I wanted to have something I could remember.
Friends, it is hot here.
Yesterday, a thermometer in a car read: 120 degrees. I’m not kidding you. I think it’s generally between 110 and 117 every day.
When I was in Santa Barbara, it was 40 degrees cooler there. It felt like winter and the breeze gave me a chill. I wore pants every day. Sometimes a light jacket.
I can barely remember what it’s like to live somewhere with weather. It hasn’t rained in months. I don’t remember rain, can barely think of its smell. But rain is coming; monsoon rains and thick, black thunderheads and lightning storms.
I have windows 19 feet tall to watch this now, and they look out over the freeway to the peaks.
My new apartment is perfect.