Sunday, July 06, 2008

Overcoming compulsion through nature

Did you ever get it in your head to do something? To the point where it becomes an obsession?

I live in a second floor apartment with a balcony patio porch thing. I don't even know what it's officially called. I have a couple chairs out there and sometimes, when the weather is nice, I sit out there and play my guitar. Actually, what I do is sit out there with my guitar while guitar music plays on a sterero inside and I pretend I'm playing it. I do this to get the attention of women who might be attracted to the kind of guy who sits outside on a balcony, patio and/or porch and play the guitar. It's really not working. That's really the only thing I ever do out there and I only do this when the weather is nice. And since I don't classify "hotter than Mercury" as "nice", that means I haven't been out there since February. There are several large trees surrounding my building and when dead branches break off, they fall on to my balcony patio porch thing and stay there. There's a lot of sticks out there right now. It kind of looks like a high-rise beaver dam. It's been on my mind to go out there and clean it up but I get distracted easily and I just haven't gotten around to it. But today for some reason, it was bugging me. I kept looking out there and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I decided I was going to clean that mess up today, no matter what. Understand something, this would not be a big project. All I'd have to do is go out there and kick them off and let the law of gravity determine that they fall where they may. For some reason, even though my mind was made up, I didn't go out and do it right away. I kept doing other things instead, including watching tv and reading the paper, but the idea never left my head. Finally...finally!...I got up to go out and do it. The problem is, the timing of this decision coincided with a fairly nasty (aka standard Tampa Bay) summer thunderstorm. No matter. I was committed and a little obsessed with doing this chore. I thought, "I want to do this now. Right now. I want to do nothing else right now. I'm doing it now. Right this minute. There's nothing in the world I want more right now than to get rid of those sticks." the weather would not be a deterrent. In fact, I'm willing to concede the fact that my downstairs neighbor might blame the storm (and not me) for all the timber that he would invariably find on his patio porch thing was kind of appealing.

So I opened the door and before I could set foot outside, I was blasted with spray, like I was in a car wash with the windows down. It wasn't just the rain but the splash of the water coming off the roof and overflowing from the gutter. I was prepared to get wet but not drown, so this gave me pause. Still, I pushed forward and got all the way out, becoming completely drenched in about five seconds. But before I could make another move, there was a brilliant flash of light followed immediately by what sounded like a hydrogen bomb going off, indicating an extremely close lightning strike. That's when I went inside. And stayed there. There are two things you don't screw around with in Florida; alligators and lightning. If you have to choose, pick alligators because there's a possibility, albeit anorexically slim, that you might be able to win a fight with an alligator. Tampa Bay is the lightning capital of the world and residents learn that fact quickly or they don't remain residents for very long (the key requirement for residency status is being alive).

Meanwhile, those sticks aren't going to hurt anybody, even if they're still there in September. Which they probably will.

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