Hey everyone, it’s hot in Brisbane. This shouldn’t ever be a surprise, but here we are. It’s hot and people don’t like it. Including my good self. I have an aversion to all forms of extreme weather. I don’t like the cold. I don’t like the heat. In fact, I can be a huge pain in the ass about it. At certain times of the year, I claim that it’s “because of my Malaysian genes” that I can’t stand the cold. And during the sweatier months, I claim that I can’t deal with the morbid humidity “despite of my Malaysian genes”. Yes, that’s right, always playing the race card.
So in the minor heat wave that seems to be sweeping through my home city at a disgustingly languorous pace, I’ve heard all these claims of “storms in the South East”. I am sitting here, waiting for a storm. Yes, ok, I know how much damage storms can do. I know that they can wipe out people’s homes, dreams and leave thousands without power. I also know that it will bring some form of relief to our stinky, humid-stricken hometown. Co’mon skies, let down our bounty of watery goodness.
About a few steps away from breaking out a primal form of rain-dance, I’ve come to recall my younger years when we lived in a house that leaked viciously in storms and also, my mother’s absolutely bone-shaking fear of thunder and lightning. A fear that she’s never really explained to any of us in much detail. But back to the former, my lovely family lived in a smallish single-story that had an absolutely abhorrent extension attached. This extension had the water-proofing abilities of a Chux wipe and wasn’t helped by the sad fact that our abode was surrounded lovingly by my father’s many fruit trees. If you’re a Brisbanite you’ll know these means two things; leafy-gutter-blockages and those bright-eyed fruit-snatching rodents, possums. Yes, that’s right possums burrowing amorously into your roof and mischievously pulling up the roof tiles = many leaks in the roof. Due to these fuzzy roof-munchkins, I’ve spent much of my youth during storm-season popping old ice-cream containers under new drips in our old fibro-clad ceiling.
I would like to say that I spent my summers doing far more exciting things, but I honestly can’t. Pre-internet days, I would spend my summers making “tea” from the dried up paw paw leaves in my back yard, randomly dousing myself our kiddie pool under the longan tree near the back door and lying on the lino-coated concrete floor of the aforementioned extension in a vain effort to stay cool.
I used to entertain myself by watching my sister complete that old 93’ version of Doom over and over again (just because she could). I also used to read. I read a lot. I read so much that my library card actually managed to shed its laminated cover within the six weeks of the summer holidays. I used to read in this big old terrible vinyl coated sofa that my parents coveted. I would start from one end of the sofa and progressively move down to the other end of the sofa as my sweat would soak into the currently occupied space. I would shift into an upside down position if I felt like my options were exhausted in terms of non-sweaty space. I would slowly migrate around the living room in various to-the-viewer-uncomfortable positions until I had finished my novel. Then I would rinse and repeat the procedure the next day. I’m sure my mother thought I was mad. But, you know, at least I wasn’t doing drugs (I was 7, but you know “kids start early” – Old Asian Parent Philosophy).
So what has all this got to do with storms? I guess they remind me of simpler times. Times when rain meant a mad scramble for ice-cream containers to contain the oncoming watery onslaught. Times when my only care was listening to the rumble of the skies and how I was supposed to read my book in candlelight without my mother telling me off (she staunchly believes that the reason why I’m the blindest off them all is because of my penchant for reading at all times). Times when I could just sit with the rain pattering down, chewing on a watermelon rind with no thoughts of anything but if the power would come back on so I could listen to B105 on my radio alarm clock.
Strange how something as mundane as the weather can bring back such memories.