Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hazy Shade of Summer

(But yes! We continue the Bangles theme!)

In, I don't quite remember--the summer of 2002? 2003?--the boyfriend and I took a trip to Phoenix for the hell of it, driving from Dallas. In case you're all "why on earth would you visit Phoenix in the summer?" let me explain that there were two reasons: (1) I can stand the heat and (2) Phoenix has unbelievably cheap summer resort prices. But that is not the point of this reminiscence.

We stopped on the way there in the town of Pecos, Texas, for all the usual things you need when driving, gas and ice and restrooms. As we were approaching the gas station, I looked out at all the dust swirling around and thought, "Hey, neat! A dust storm," because Phoenix has dust storms and really, I kind of like them.

Or so I thought.

It turned out what Phoenix has is mild, brief, gentle flurries of dust on occasion. What Pecos was undergoing could more accurately be termed a blizzard of dust. Dust slammed into my eyes the moment we exited the car. You know what the difference between being blasted in the face with snow and being blasted in the face with dust is? Snow MELTS.

It also turned out not to matter that I spent my first five minutes in Pecos doubled over, wincing with pain, and squeezing my eyes shut, because once I got them open again I realized vision was optional here--you couldn't see a damned thing anyhow. What fog is to London, dust was to Pecos.

We didn't stay long.

If you're an aspiring filmmaker looking to shoot a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action adventure somewhere in the United States, may I recommend Pecos, Texas? Although I think you should know beforehand, it's a little fucking dusty there.

When I began making plans to move here, I had to hear about dust all over again. "It's really windy there in the spring," my boyfriend warned me. "Real windy. And you know, there's a lot of dust there, so--"

"Right," I said, unfazed, "Dust storms."

"The wind gets up to 30, 40 miles an hour some days in the spring. I remember, I'd be trying to walk to class, and--" And I'd tune out yet another story from my boyfriend's undergraduate years, because I'm a rude listener and I bore easily and also, he'd told me all this about the dust and the wind 4,000 times already.

I survived the spring with few complaints. Sure, you could probably fill a sandbag or two with all the particles I inhaled, but I'm still here, I'm still breathing, and the house is almost clean again. I mean, it was almost clean again. Today we've got unusually high winds stirring up the usual astonishing allotment of dust and, on top of that, smoke's blowing in from the Gila National Forest fire. I was going to take a picture of it for you, but then I realized you probably already know what light-brown looks like.

You can't even see the Organs today, and the Organs are over 11,000 feet high. You don't just lose peaks like that without first swirling around multiple, entire stadiums worth of dust and smoke.

I'm not complaining. I'm just saying maybe, maybe I owe the citizens of Pecos, Texas an apology.

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