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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Too Mean for Irene

If you’re reading this — welcome! You’ve made the transition with me to my new server, and new blogging software. Well done.

I’m hoping to make this move as seamless and streamlined as possible — as in, ‘after another sentence and a half, you’ll hopefully never hear about it ever again — but in the event you see something amiss (other than my sanity, of course), please drop me a note to let me know what’s wonky. Otherwise, mum’s the word on the technical miscellany.

Now, back to the show.

Yesterday, I got a call from my parents. That’s not so unusual on the weekend, but it wasn’t the usual sort of call. This call was regarding… dun DUN DUUUN:

Hurricane Irene.

Now, like I said last time, I had no idea what Irene was going to smack us with in the Boston area. She could’ve kicked our collective Sam Adams-swilling ass, or — as it turned out — she could just dump a few hours of rain on us and muss our hair a bit.

I imagined the latter was somewhat more likely. My parents, on the other hand, assumed the worst. ‘Stay indoors!‘, they told me. ‘Make extra ice cubes! Buy lots of candles! Board up all the windows!!

I wasn’t especially sure whether they were trying to keep us safe from an impending storm, or taking one last desperate run at trying to get us to conceive a grandchild for them. Either way, I mostly blew it off — in much the same way Irene mostly blew off her visit to Boston.

“Drunk, dry and without a hair out of place is a spectacular way to go through life, son.

(Who in their right mind takes a left at Jersey and hits Springfield instead of Boston, I don’t know. I’m beginning to think old Irene was maybe a couple of gusts short of a sustained wind, if you know what I’m saying.)

To be fair, I did prepare myself somewhat for the big storm. I canceled all my plans for today, resolved to stay inside, and yesterday I bought a case of beer and got a haircut. Drunk, dry and without a hair out of place is a spectacular way to go through life, son. That’s my theory, anyway.

That just left one loose post-tropical Nor’Easter thread to tie up. My parents made me promise yesterday to give them a call once the meteorological fireworks were over, so they’d know we were safe, sound and undrowned. I agreed that I would. And around six this evening, it was time to make the call.

That’s when I decided I’d finally have a little ‘fun’ with this whole hurricane business. If Irene wasn’t going to provide any local entertainment, then I’d do it myself, dammit.

So before dialing the folks, I made myself a little call station. In the bathroom. First, I lined the bathtub with aluminum foil.

(No, this isn’t some sicko Blade Runner fantasy or something. Jesus. Stick with me here. You’ll see.)

We have a window behind our tub / shower — heavily glazed, naturally; for our peace of mind and the neighbors’ peace of eyeballs. So I put a box fan in the window, and turned it on high. Then I turned the shower on, the better to pelt — noisily pelt — the foil below. I dialed my parents’ number, put them on speakerphone, laid the phone down on the window sill near the fan, and backed out into the hallway. When I heard my mother answer, I shouted, twelve feet away from the receiver:

HI, MA! YOU SAID I SHOULD CALL WHEN THE WORST WAS OVER TODAY!

She said something. I couldn’t hear. How could I hear? I was getting a lap dance from a hurricane, probably.

YEAH, MOST OF THE CARS HAVE STOPPED FLOATING NOW! HOW’S DAD? HE PLAYING GOLF TODAY?

She said something else, louder. I couldn’t make it out. I ran some water from the sink into a cup.

GOOD, GOOD! WE’RE DOING OKAY HERE, UNDER THE CIRCUM*gargle gargle ggnngghhh*!!

Something else, louder still. Might have been singing. Might have been Swahili. I was in an aluminum wind tunnel. How the hell should I know?

OKAY, WELL, I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW WE’RE GOOD! TURNS OUT OUR COUCHES FLOAT, AND THE DOG’S PADDLING LIKE A CHAMP! TALK TO YOU SOON! LOVE YOU!

I turned off the phone, the water and the fan, tossed the foil and went to ‘innocently’ find my wife, who was in the kitchen, a couple of rooms away. By the time I got there, her cell phone was buzzing. She distractedly picked it up, and got an immediate earful of ‘OHMIGODWHAT’SGOINGONUPTHERE CALLFEMAGETTOHIGHGROUND RENTAHELICOPTERJUST SAVEYOURSELVES!!!

Or something to that effect. It was hard to make out, what with the tinny phone speaker and my maniacal giggling. And now my mother and my wife want to lash me to a piece of driftwood and throw me in the Caribbean to wait for the next storm to come through. Seems a little harsh, if you ask me. I just made a phone call — like I was asked to do. Sheesh.

Also? Totally worth it. Maybe next year, I’ll impersonate a volcanic eruption. Or a plague of frogs. That’d be cool.

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