Its here, once again – the blistering hot, stifling, breath stealing month of August. Unfortunately it is one of those 31 day months, one of seven that seem to drag on forever, as you look at the calendar wondering when will this ever end. To step outside it is necessary to strap on the gills, so one can absorb the air – it burns too much to breathe normally, so respiration must become a combination of air and osmosis. And in August one must “be”. Its too damn hot here to exert oneself during this month, so the pace turns to one of complete languor, sitting around and existing which can be a good thing sometimes. The most one usually works out is to mow the lawn once a week, sometimes twice and maybe sit on the porch after the early evening thunderstorm absorbing the fleeting breeze that disappears once the sun comes back out. Northerners hibernate in the winter, and we do it opposite. August is to be endured…

Some redeeming qualities of August though are to be had. Crab season is in full swing, and thanks to the kindness of a friend, I had over 3 dozen perfectly boiled crustaceans bestowed on me yesterday. Picking them this morning with family was a delicious ritual of talk and sharing stories while commenting on the luscious crabs. The anticipation of stuffed crabs to come added to the enjoyment of the morning. Another respite is going to the movie and sitting in the cool dark theater for a matinee. Or renting several DVD’s and plugging in to the player in the heat of the day in a dark, cool room. Another chore to set aside is mass cooking – its too hot to heat up the kitchen to prepare food, so the “honey I don’t want to heat up the house and dontcha wanna save on the electric bill?” excuse comes in handy. Salad days are definitely here…

But the one thing that makes one pause in the month of August is this. Yes, that feeling of dread has come again – that pit of the stomach, acid tasting, pre-terror, hyper-alertness that there is a tropical storm spinning less that 100 miles away and the damn thing could churn into a category 2 hurricane within hours. Forecasters predict the thing will head west, bringing needed rains there, but that is cold comfort with something that can change course with the predictability of a crap shoot. It has only been three short years, and this place is far from being made whole, and we certainly don’t need another hit.

Old timers I encounter say this isn’t the year, it will be a loooong time before we experience another direct hit, and I am somewhat comforted by this. But until October 1 comes around, we are all standing at attention, watching and waiting it out, praying that we don’t experience another August 29.

~ by maringouin on Sunday, August 3, 2008.

4 Responses to “august”

  1. You write so well that I always enjoy coming to this coast, despite its name. I grew up in deep Mississippi delta, just south of Memphis, secure in the knowledge that mosquitoes were invented Yankees for the sole purpose of race mixing. Indeed I remember one who played on our little league team, a shortstop named Buzz. Everyone else on the team hated him. I however came from finer stock and so befriended the little bugger. Still today some of my best friends are mosquitoes.

    I understand your tropical angst.
    One week before the storm, a little oooold lady named Mrs. May told me a story at the bus stop, that August is when the Devil takes his yearly, month-off for vacation and comes to sit his big butt right on top of the entire city. He never tells Mrs. Satan where he goes each year, just takes his minions and comes to New Orleans and leaves her to run Hell all by herself. That is why it is so hot there in August.
    Needless to say, the Devil’s Wife found him that fateful autumn of ’05. There was Hell to pay and…I hope you guessed her name.

    I did not escape the city until the 6th day of that Kafkatrina Nightmare flood as when we rushed the Crescent City Connection to Baton Rouge. When Rita came in, I could not stop trembling and so headed further north, where I still ride the long road’ho.
    Hence my storm angst begins about March each year and gets worse as the summer progresses. That week will live in infamy for me perhaps the rest of my life.
    And here we go again.

    But I way’mo betta now, thanks in no small measure to blogs like yours. I can remember having boiled crab and shrimp at Tyler’s listening to half of Woodenhead before they were a full band. I remember eating crab on the Lake front on Sundays watching the hot rods and Pelicans…thinking it just could not get any better.
    Well it does get better thank you very much.

    After about a year of very questionable mental instability, I began to commute every month or so back to the city. I came to the last anniversary and hope to make this one as well. I like to go to City Park and just sit with the trees. I like to just sit still there and listen and sweat and drink Abita and think of how I yet cannot return to live in the city that care forgot and the presidente left for dead.


  2. Yes, ma’am, hot as hell and any breaks in the weather are a relief and are also suspect at the same time, ’cause it’s AUGUST, daamit!


  3. Well done. You hit the nail on the head! Thanks.

  4. Thanks everyone – editilla I missed your heartfelt reply, thanks for sharing – I suspect that most if not all citizens down here went through some form or another the strain that you did – we are all survivors and will survive for sure…

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