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How To Write In a Hurricane, Or: When Will Everyone Go To The Moon?

How to write in a hurricane is a poser. Hurricanes are really bad storms. You will want to avoid one, if at all possible, perhaps by moving to Nevada, where the worst weather-related calamity we face is sitting on vinyl car seats in July wearing shorts.

We pull our heads out of the new hole in the roof we have made and we soldier on.  We are even able to go home, put salve on the backside of our thighs, and write a post.

In a hurricane, writing has got to be difficult. In a hurricane, the wind is howling, the windows are rattling, shingles are flying off the roof, branches are cracking off trees and hitting the wall of the room where you’re trying to write and finding it increasingly difficult.

Water may even be creeping up your ankles, making you wonder how you will look with your hair standing straight out around your head, after you’re electrocuted.

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I’m having really sucky weather.

This is how I have to write most of the time and I haven’t been near a hurricane since the 1980’s. Back then, I decided I would rather face the wrath of God than bed down with a bunch of strangers in a school auditorium. So I went to stay with a friend on Long Island during a hurricane warning on Long Island.

This is just one example of the kind of uncommon sense I have shown in my lifetime.

Around my house, we do not entertain hurricanes unaware, but we do have other hazards that are highly injurious to writers. I like to write during the morning and early afternoon, sitting on my bed, my laptop on my lap. (Hey! That’s why they call it that!) My window is ajar, a fancy way of saying it’s open, because I live in a place where there are no hurricanes, so the winter weather is really nice.

The tenants in back have the gall to walk through their gate and in response to their slightest movements, the neighbors’ fifteen dogs bark at them. Despite the tenants doing this everyday, at least twenty times a day, the dogs refuse to be lulled into complacency and continue to express their outrage each time.

The tenant’s grandkid, who is accompanied by his grandmother on these outdoor excursions, protests about something each time, for which he will be told “No” and he then joins the dogs in expressing outrage. His grandmother will tell him to “stop that crying,” which he very sensibly ignores, as he has done every day for the last three years, because it is clear to him there are no teeth in her warnings like there are in hurricanes.

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Across the street, on the corner, there are two new kids on the block. They add to the general cacophony, which one of them feels obliged to continue for hours by screaming at the top of his lungs, and to which his mother appears to be deaf. Profound deafness is a very sensible response to motherhood.

The neighbor directly across the street has a truck outfitted with an alarm, which warns him, and the rest of us, of approaching birds and pedestrians and cars all day and half the night. It will give out a beep-beep every ten minutes or so, to let us know that there is Incoming.

I’m going to write an anonymous letter to the neighbors with the screaming new kid, threatening all kinds of mayhem if they don’t take charge of this brat and make him stop screaming. I know this is unprecedented; parents are not expected to take charge and discipline anyone. Only total strangers. If you are a total stranger, parents feel free to express their opinion of any number of personal things about you.

I’m not worried they will read this. For people to actually stop and read something would require a crisis similar to a global alien invasion and besides which, my own friends and family rarely read my stuff, so why would a neighbor?

As for noise cessation, short of federal intervention, people sometimes manage to get some peace and quiet. They induced LAX to stop flying jets over houses. LAX settled the whole thing by confiscating the entire neighborhood.

I am going to go live in one of those abandoned houses. Living under departing and arriving jets has got to be more peaceful than this.

Nearer at hand, in mine own house, I hear cursing coming at regular intervals from the back room where someone is experiencing extreme frustration on the computer.

Closer to me, there’s the regular conversation taking place between the dog and one of the occupants of the household; “If you want me to throw it, drop it.” “Give it to me, or I won’t throw it.” “You stupid mutt, I am not going to play tug-of-war with you every time you want me to throw it!”

And so it will go, for several years.

Edit: I wrote this several years ago. The tenants and their grandchild have moved; the fifteen dogs are still there in varying numbers and groupings; the neighbor on the corner with the screaming child has moved; the neighbor across the street with the ever vigilant car alarm is no longer there.

No, but they were all replaced by a houseful of motorcyclists who roared down the street at intervals, beginning at 7am and ending after midnight. They were busted by the SWAT team. Finally, peace and quiet, right?

What planet are YOU from? We now have the twenty or thirty family members who live across the street: The shrewish mom who never speaks but she screams; the yelling children; the ranting and yelling grown son, who feels that it he is legally protected from all interference as long as he’s standing somewhere across the street.

Through it all, I dream of isolation chambers, and tree houses located in the forest, where the loudest things you will hear are the screams of small creatures as they get caught by something bigger and eaten.

And that usually happens at night when I will be asleep, my cheek pillowed on my shotgun, smiling softly.

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20 thoughts on “How To Write In a Hurricane, Or: When Will Everyone Go To The Moon?

  • March 26, 2018 at 2:54 am

    You need a flame thrower, or most likely a small neutron bomb. Remember them? Eliminate people and leave the structures. They’re my favorite kind of bomb but seem to have gone out of style. Quite a shame.

    • March 26, 2018 at 3:03 am

      Not a bad idea, Sis! That’s what the neighborhood under LAX looked like. Now it’s all empty. Terrible shame about that place. Prime beach neighborhood, developed in the 20s. I don’t know why they didn’t move the freaking airport further inland. Tch.

      I was so hoping this family would be gone, but apparently, the landlord is in arrears, so now it’s anyone’s guess. The sound of the mom’s voice is like fingernails on a blackboard. Ack.

      • March 26, 2018 at 3:11 am

        Bureaucracy is so much fun! The airport in San Diego went the other way. The airport was way out in the middle of nowhere and then they started developing. So now the residents complain about the noise. Sigh.

        One can hope that the bank forecloses, usually they get rid of the tenants if they can. I wouldn’t be that mean usually ( no really!) but the landlord has not been considerate of the neighborhood. So phooey to him.

        • March 26, 2018 at 3:23 am

          No, he has not. No, he has not. I think they wanted to move back into the house, but the mother won’t budge. There was all this in and outing for a week or so, moving stuff, but then they’re still here. I heard her screaming at someone in the house, “Well, they’d better find some f***ing place to live! Quick!”

          So, I don’t know where the house stands, except too close to us. I miss Jennifer, the young single mom of three growing kids who used to scream at them now and then. But that was once in awhile. Our other neighbor swears he’s gonna sneak in there and burn that house down.

          We were in SD when the plane went down there. Which airline was it? It was in the 70s.

          • March 26, 2018 at 3:53 am

            I don’t remember which airline that was. The mind is sometimes even older than the rest of me!

          • March 26, 2018 at 4:21 am

            I remember the flight attendants wore hot pants and go go boots. How would that have looked landing in Saudi Arabia?
            The mind is the last thing to go, I guess. So what does that say about the rest of us?

          • March 26, 2018 at 4:38 am

            Well, two thoughts, possibly PSA? Remember them well. And another, maybe Branif? I think PSA.

          • March 26, 2018 at 4:44 am

            That was it! See, we just don’t have to remember stuff anymore. Once you start pulling it out, it starts FALLING out.

          • March 26, 2018 at 6:49 am

            Yep, my theory is that everything you need to know is there, just as you get older it looks a lot like my garage. The 20 year old stuff is in the back and hard to get to. Keep moving boxes around and you’ll find it.

          • March 26, 2018 at 6:05 pm

            Hey, Don is about to clean out the garage soon. I wonder what if we’ll find some memories back there?

          • March 26, 2018 at 8:32 pm

            Oh yea. Tucked in a box you’ve forgotten about. I bet you find a few tears and smiles!

          • March 27, 2018 at 12:22 am

            Yeah, I don’t even store those!

  • March 26, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Very funny My Love. As usual you bring the giggle to the table where everyone else is having Crow and unhappy about it.
    Brandon and I would like to thank you for our cameo’s in this edition.
    We will endeavor to keep the cursing and other obligatory sounds out of your peace and tranquility in the future.
    We remain your grateful Minions. :>}

    • March 27, 2018 at 12:20 am

      Haha! This was awhile back, but no worries. I do my own share of complaining, right? Kisses!

  • March 26, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Gigi! I left a long reply (Happy Easter!) but got knocked off. Why?

    • March 27, 2018 at 12:21 am

      What? I don’t know. I see this comment. Why wouldn’t I see your other one? I was just thinking of you today, too. Happy Easter!

  • March 27, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Hurricanes? They’re cool! We have seven to ten typhoons per year or so we can get a day off school easily. It’s nice to have a nice hot cup of tea with you inside your house and writing about funny stuff when outside there’s a hurricane/typhoon outside.

    • March 27, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      The Typhoons opened for The Hurricanes in ’92 in Monterey!

      I love staying in bed, drinking coffee, reading, watching television, when the weather is bad. If it’s good, like it usually is here, I feel guilty staying inside. And Sugar makes sure I feel guilty, too.

      Are typhoons the exact same as hurricanes? As strong?

      • April 11, 2018 at 1:13 pm

        Oy blin. I just checked your reply like, err, half a month later. I think typhoons are different from hurricanes because they form in different oceans. But they’re just as strong. Last year a typhoon flooded one of our central metro stations.

        • April 11, 2018 at 4:37 pm

          But Oy Blin is a brand new word! Haha! Okay, now I know all about typhoons and hurricanes. Thank you!


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