I could hear it on the roof, scrabbling to get in while I stirred what was on the stove. It would stop and I would forget about it until, there it was again, banging around, trying to find a way inside.
In New Mexico, spring has a sound. It is less chirping birds than a relentless howling, issued forth from the dry throat of this bitch of a wind that starts sometime in March and blows hard through the middle of April. The winds come, pushing no small measure of the desert before them, and you’d be ill-advised to venture out into the wilds of our West without a pair of sunglasses strapped to your face and a bottle of water somewhere handy—you know, to rinse the sand residue out of your mouth after you've made the mistake of trying to have a conversation with someone out of doors during that six-week window.
Several years ago, in the midst of one of these seasonal siroccos, I was parallel parking my sweet minivan at the elementary school. As I maneuvered my car into position, I completely forgot about the car in my rearview (such is the near-transcendent experience of parallel parking for skilled such as myself, doing my driver's ed teacher
proud since 1987). A blindingly white, Lexus SUV already parked close to where my rear bumper would be upon completion of my highly-technical stunt housed its very own, sunglasses-wearing Mom-inator. Unbeknownst to me, this mother was watching me closely, concerned about the success of my parallel parking attempt.
Would my skills be expert enough to protect her luxury paint job?
At some point, she decided they would not. That's when she laid on her horn, startling me out of my parallel-parking trance and scaring the bejeebers out of me. She promptly jumped out of her fancy-schmancy car and ran away before I could even properly verbally abuse her through the glass of my windshield.
I stomped over to the school to wait for The Three, fuming. When I found a friend on the steps to the school, I spat out the story of the parking and the honking and the unforgivable rudeness of That Woman.
Throughout the telling, my friend was sanguine. When I was well and truly finished, she offered her explanation for the sour sequence of events.
“It’s the wind,” she told me.
I try to remember her words when spring threatens and the wind starts to pick up. When my first impulse is to shout or spew, I try to catch my breath and take a deeper one, and ask myself: has the metal thingy on the roof started rattling around?
Well, then. Maybe it’s just the wind.
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