September, 2014


Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

It’s been humid and hot and steamy and stormy in San Diego for weeks now, so many weeks I can’t even remember if it’s been weeks or months. I think months. Humidity has never been a San Diego thing. Until now. Humidity kind of makes me crazy. I’m reminded of the movie “Body Heat” with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt. The hotter things got, the hotter their characters got. And the crazier the plot got.

Yesterday afternoon, all of a sudden, out of the clear blue sky, I saw big lazy drops of rain abruptly falling from the sky. In San Diego. In September. So I rushed out to my top floor patio and put Merit in the soil around my potted ficus tree which is eaten up with White Fly, thinking a brief rain would slowly work the Merit into my ficus tree’s soil. Then I came back inside to resume my air conditioned survival. I had no more than sat down when I heard a loud crash followed by what was then pounding rain I could see out the windows, along with mountains of clouds and bent-double palm trees. When I opened my front door, my ficus tree had blown over and was halfway down my long flight of stairs. The wind was howling like a dog; the rain pelted me like pocket knife blades. The air smelled like Eucalyptus. And dirt. I grabbed onto the middle of my 12 foot ficus tree that I’ve had for 10 years and like Hercules, I pulled it back up the stairs into a standing position, just as a crack of lightning popped somewhere close by. Worried I’d be struck dead but not willing to let my ficus tree blow down the stairs again, I wrestled it back toward the wall and somehow managed to brace it with two metal chairs next to my front door. My downstairs neighbor’s plants were flying through the air then crashing on the cement. I heard sirens going every which way in the distance and decided I better get my ass back in the house.

Once I was back in the house I realized my television had come on by itself, who knew? A voice was warning of a flash flood and high winds, (no kidding). Had I signed up for an emergency package with Cox cable or was it standard emergency procedure?

An hour later, sopping wet from the humidity, I walked through the complex. Tree limbs and palm fronds and Eucalyptus leaves covered the ground. The big ficus tree planted in the ground in the park by the pool had broken in half and had fallen to the ground. I didn’t think until later when I was in bed that maybe I should have looked under the fallen half-tree for bodies. (There were none.)

Looking back on the storm today, 24 hours later, I am reminded of an old aviation quote which is repeated in “Vanity Fair,” the October 2014 issue:

“The reasons you get into trouble become the reasons you don’t get out of it.”