the weather report

I’m always a bit emo when I have to get on a plane and leave the tiny smalls behind. (Claire is the same. Jeremy reports that tonight she was looking broodingly at the bookshelves and saying “All these books make me think about how I miss mummy.”) I flew out of San Francisco in one of those sort of robotic moods imposed where you try to cope with the indignity and discomfort of commercial travel by completely dissociating. “The toothpaste is too big? Okay.”

So when we came over a mountain range into Phoenix just before sunset and I saw a huge perfect fluffy white storm cell, I caught my breath; and when it lit up with lightning I put down my book. I leaned into the porthole and watched the pink bolts firing up and down the column of cloud, blazing on the outside and lighting up the inside. As we began our descent I watched the sun setting behind the storm in a band of red fire, and the huge cell turn steel grey and then black against the night sky.

I get superstitious when I am emo. Much of my adult life has been an excruciating process of learning detachment, of trying to let go. I’ve deliberately and consciously wanted very few things very fiercely over the last few years: for the girls and my parents to be healthy and safe, for one or two friends who had stopped talking to me to start again, for Jeremy to be near.

And for Barack Obama to win this election. A few nights ago I dreamed I went on a blood-drenched Celtic-Wiccan passage through the underworld on his behalf, emerging like a muddy banshee from a church basement in Philadelphia. And as I watched this mighty electric storm over Arizona, I decided that if I saw another lightning flash out in the open, Obama would win.

I saw two.

I’m having a rather unexpectedly nice time here. I spent dinner chatting about haute cuisine, which I can do for days at a stretch, with Frank Artale who is part-owner of Lampreia in Seattle. He had me in stitches with scurrilous tales of Charles Simonyi’s engagement party and Melinda Gates’ aesthetician. Afterwards he introduced me to a woman who had three sugar gliders in her purse. I snuggled one of them and he purred! Who knew that sugar gliders purr?

All the while, lightning was firing the cloudy night above the golf course. So when I got back to my room I donated to Obama’s campaign.

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