Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Signs of summer

I’m not usually the kind of person who believes in bad omens (although, with admitted inconsistency, I do believe in good omens) but if I were, then I got a doozy this past Friday, as I somehow managed to put my hands into some kind of toxic dendrons or another, which grow so thick and rampant around our back deck that they poke through the slats and rails and basically would eat the house if we let them. Clearly I will be wearing long sleeves and gloves before trying to hack them back in the future, but I was a touch foolhardy at first contact. And not only did I get a good dose of urushiol on my hands, but I managed to wipe it all over my face, too, which gave my wife quite a WTF moment on Saturday morning when she woke up next to bizarrely swollen version of my mug.

With liberal doses of Benadryl, hydrocortisone, and calamine (not to mention shiraz, sangria and champagne), I managed to survive the weekend without clawing my skin to ribbons, but yeah, as far as beginnings of summer seasons go? INAUSPICIOUS. But like I said, I don’t put much stock in such divination. If every time I brought misfortune upon myself I took it as an indication that a malevolent universe was out to get me, I would probably be living as a mad hermit in a cave somewhere trying to learn demon-appeasing black magic. Which, so far, I’m not. I just try not to let the dumb things I do overly ruin the periods of calm in between such things.

A slightly more pleasant harbinger of the bright stretch of the year between equinoxes was the Indianapolis 500, which I have to admit has never really made much of an impact on my consciousness before. I have very distinct, long-established notions about Opening Day of baseball season and the World Series, or NFL training camps and the Superbowl, and what time of year those sporting or sports-related events belong to. After that everything from Wimbledon to the Stanley Cup to the Kentucky Derby to the NBA finals gets fuzzier and fuzzier in my mental calendar, and last year I probably couldn’t even have told you what half of the year the Indy 500 was in. But since we had some friends over for brunch on Sunday this Memorial Day weekend, and one friend is in fact a Hoosier who grew up with the Indy, we put it on the tv for a while. The reason this will probably now stick in my mind going forward was because the little guy was positively mesmerized. Race cars! On television! My wife and I were pretty sure we caught him glancing sidelong at us a couple of times with the thought “Whatever this show is, why haven’t we been watching it EVERY DAY?” clearly etched on his face, though it quickly dissolved as he was enraptured by the cars zooming by on screen once again.

He's jammin' down the pedal like he's never comin' back
Every time I think I’ve reached an understanding of just how besotted with all things cars my son is, he demonstrates that it actually runs a bit deeper. If he were still having trouble sleeping nights, I would seriously be looking for a CD with nothing but the sounds of car and truck engines roaring by, which I believe would be like a balm for his soul as soothing as most people find birdsongs and babbling brooks.

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