Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Four Hundred Seventy Six

A momentous week off as both my love and I have now received our second inoculations. By mid-July we will fully protected, as protected as one can be, against the grippe reborn. I felt little of the excitement I had for the first dose, the whole experience now mundane. The inoculation site remained a marvel of efficiency, smiling volunteers and nurses guiding hundreds of people through lines to receive their doses. I suffered again from side effects, but even they were more muted, leaving me with a day of mild misery.

The week was momentous for another reason, as a heat wave reached these parts, lasting the better part of eight days. At its peak the temperatures reached 36 for multiple days, as hot as it ever gets here. Worse, because it was day after day of unrelenting heat, the nights offered no relief. Being so close to the mountains the temperatures usually drop down to 10-15 on even the hottest nights, but on this week we saw lows of 20. The air was stifling and didn’t seem to move.

The oddest part was the sky. Here I am used to cloudless days, the sun bright, the sky vast and blue, but this was something else entirely. There was not a cloud to be seen for days. The blue of the sky was different, a subdued blue, tinged by all the pollution from the city and its environs that had nowhere to go. It simply lingered in the air, building and building, just like heat. It was like the world had gone still, the weather, the sky, everything the same day after day. The wind, when it did blow, was warm and unpleasant, a desert wind, leeching any moisture from the air, offering no relief.

We are not used to this kind of heat in these parts, certainly not for that length of time. Usually we have a day or two, at most, before a thunderstorm intrudes and brings cool air in its wake. I found the whole experience miserable, the nights restless as I struggled to sleep. Being outside, for any length of time was a chore and we sought out air conditioned places as much as possible, venturing to a mall for the first time since the grippe reborn arrived in these parts. The birds, which normally populate the trees out front of our home were absent most of the week, heading to the river where there is water.

The heat broke with a tremendous storm. There was thunder and lightning, torrential rains and even hail. The thunderhead stood over the centre of the city, vast and swirling, looking as though it might transform itself into a funnel cloud and perhaps even a tornado. It did not, but it still left a path of destruction in its wake. Streets were flooded and underground parkades on those streets as well. In our building the roof leaked and I spent the night trying to reduce the pools of water to limit the damage. It was cool in the darkness as we frantically filled a wet vac again and again, emptying its contents down a drain. The night air smelled glorious, of wet earth and damp greenery.

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