MALAY MALAISE AND THE MONSOON BREAST
Yesterday afternoon I was on the computer, doing some (rare) journalism work when all at once it got dark outside and started raining.
Even though I'd seen the colorful storm on the computer radar a few minutes earlier (and had decided not to ride the bike to my 5:30 class after all), I thought nothing of it until the winds whipped the rain past my window so fast it looked like I was in a carwash.
I ran to the kitchen and looked outside; the trees were horizontal, like the ones they always show in the hurricane videos.
The wind was blowing so fast, and the rain was coming down so hard, it seemed like the windows would blow in.
It was a little late to brave the unsheltered back stairs and go to the basement (which was likely to flood anyway).
So I did what any sentient adult would do; I ran and hid in the walk-in closet.
But it was full of unsorted India stuff, and I could only go in a few feet.
The cat sat outside, waiting his turn to get in to his usual hiding place.
He didn't have to wait long; the violent portion of the storm soon ended and it commenced to rain. And rain. And rain.
I went back to work.
Then I got in the car to drive downtown.
Ashland Avenue was backed up.
There were uprooted trees outside of Graceland Cemetary.
There were uprooted and split trees along Irving Park Road.
There were many uprooted and split-in-half trees in Lincoln Park and along the lakefront.
I called TJ and Dreyfus; all were OK.
After class, I learned that some companies had made their employees go to inner hallways or the basement, while others had ignored the warnings altogether.
Bobeiseennow said that even the Lincoln-Belmont YMCA evacuated its members to the basement.
After class, it was still raining -- hard -- and Lakeshore Drive was a parking lot.
This did not stop people from driving like idiots.
There were fallen trees in the right lane just before the Irving Park exit, where I sat for at least a half an hour.
The signals at the ramp were out, and a stalled car and bus blocked two of the lanes in the flooded underpass below Lakeshore Drive.
I hydroplaned through.
Most of the signals on Irving Park Road were out -- which is exactly what happens in India after a hard monsoon rain.
But in India 1) they know how to deal with this, and 2) most major intersections are manned (and I mean manned) by tall policemen in white hats anyway.
The lights along Ashland Avenue were also dark.
Yet the power in my house was working.
But they're predicting more rain/storms today.
In India whenever it started to rain I'd point to the sky like a child and say to whomever was nearby, "Malay! Malay!" -- which means "rain" -- or "Mungaru malay!" which means monsoon rain.
The day before I left, I learned that I'd been mispronouncing "Malay."
Apparently, instead of "mah-lay" I'd been saying "muh-lay," which means "breast."