We were struck by a huge storm earlier this week, the clouds sat low and heavy in the sky – such monstrously dark things, almost purple, writhing in the muggy air, threatening. Then, all at once they burst, a torrential downpouring of sweet, refreshing water. The sky lit up with lightning and the streets were quickly submerged. Obviously, I had to go for a walk. The only looney bastard struggling down the gushing pavements, clutching his little umbrella tight against the angry wind, grinning maniacally at the novelty of it all.
Soon the storm passed, the streets somehow soaked up the waters and the only reminder of it all is the river, swollen and flowing fiercely, reinvigorated.
Went to the WalMart out on the Interstate the other day – oh what architecture out on these pot-holed arteries, designed surely by some malignant spirit hell-bent on snapping the will of humanity. But the vast expanses of unkempt carpark do offer the most glorious views of sunset - sky all around, clouds so majestically drifting towards the horizon, promising hope and peace. And just beyond the furthest orange-painted box of the car park fields of corn, swaying gently in the breeze, uninterrupted for miles, watched over by the gleaming silver orb of the local water tower.
Then a car honks somewhere and you’re reminded of your grocery shopping and you hurry into the enormous, spiteful shed that you were trying not to see. Everything under one roof; except beauty.
A friend took me to lunch one day. A cute little place, its large ‘Rest Haven’ sign trying desperately to claw customers from all the other sheds along the interstate, its carpark almost overflowing – the true sign of its quality.
Once inside, the anonymous greyness of the interstate evaporates in a cozy, avuncular warmth. The place has been here since 1947 and seems not to’ve been altered since not too long afterward. A large Lebanese-American woman greets you warmly from behind a counter piled-high with sugary sweet pies. Her son ambles between the tables, an endless pitcher of ice tea in his hands. I am told the grandfather, founder of the restaurant, can often been seen sipping tea in the background. The brown-and-white chequered tables and leather booths are filled with happy customers talking animatedly about the recent football game as they devour delicious plates of Lebanese-American cuisine.
I was treated to an impromptu concert the other evening. We have staying with us a couple of travelling musicians. After a few cold beers in the cloying heat of dusk, they start playing – the wailing slide guitar by turns mournful and furious, the drummer beating out a tense undercurrent on tables and half-filled beer bottles.