Last Updated 9/13/2003 by dickdiamond.com
Today is one of those rare days when Texas weather has actually aligned with what my sense memory traditionally thinks of as "weather." And, it's also one of those exceedingly rare days where that's actually a pleasant experience. Sure, a month ago we had a pretty good rendition of a hurricane, and at least once last spring we had one of those blast furnace days that viscerally reminded me of stepping off an airplane onto hot tarmac (back when you actually did such a thing) on a Florida "winter" day. But today is actually nice.
The feeling is most noticeable in the pool. The sun shines in a cloudless sky; the water is about 84; the air about 10 degrees hotter; the humidity for once objectively low; which means very low for Texas. Moving between hot air and cool water, with low enough humidity to give the hint of a chill, is exactly the kind of weather my body expects for the end of summer. Phrases like "end of summer" and "fall sale" have been popping up a lot recently, but so far they've been typical Texas absurdity (the same stubborn seasonal regimentation that makes it impossible to find a jacket during a cool snap in June, or a pair of shorts during a February heat wave).
But today the routine was very much in season: floating around the pool, gathering up heat in the outer quarter inch of skin, then plunging into the cool water of the pool, feeling that almost-chill as the dry air moves over wet skin on the slightest breeze. Repeat. It was almost nostalgic, that feeling of heat and cold right at the surface, the feeling of a barrier between elements and seasons.
In fact, for one moment, kicking languidly just under the surface, I was transported back 10 years and 1500 miles. I was not longer in my tired 10,000-gallon white plaster kiddy pool in suburban Austin, but kicking down to the deep end of a 50,000-gallon monster gray marbled Gunite in the back woods of Amagansett, having just performed one of my last vacs of the season, sneaking in a quick "inspection" swim, knowing the owners were a world away in Manhattan or Trenton or somewhere equally far away, physically and geographically, but also spiritually. This was a pool I hated going to, because there were always dead mice in the skimmers and very live wasps in the cavernous, unlit pool house. Yet it was a pool I loved going to because it was simply gorgeoushuge, smooth, deep, private, an apparently unusedmore like a perfect and mysterious alien artifact than a piece of human-engineered architecture.
The vision, though comprehensive, lasts only a few seconds, certainly not past the point where I breach the surface, reentering my own time. Still, many elements remaincloudless sky, the shade of tall trees, hot air, cool water. In ten years, will similar conditions bring me back to this moment?
Has anyone else noticed that it has been an incredibly tough year for celebrities? I mean Cameron Diaz is having a pretty good year, despite the broken nose, but a fuck of a lot of celebrities seem to be dying.
Today, of course, the big news is Johnny Cash. And I was just starting to like the guy. What's really weird is, he made his own eulogy/retrospective in the form of the music video for Hurt (media pop-up). If you haven't seen it, watch it. It won an MTV music award for cinematography, and I can see why. It's an amazing piece of work.
A few weeks ago, we also lost Warren Zevon, originally to lung cancer, but now apparently to asbestos poisoningif you believe the tobacco industry. The weirdest part about that was that we all knew he was going to die, for about a year.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have someone like John Ritter, a relatively young, healthy guy who just drops dead in the middle of his work daya victim of pure chaos and random chance.
It seems like there should be a lesson here, but I can't figure out what it is. It seems like I should have something more to say, but I just don't.