Thursday, May 13, 2010

Evil meltemi madness

I’m down on the Florida coast now, staying with family. The weather is beautiful, the dissertation is happening, and relaxation is simultaneously in full effect.

Blog writing spot.

Yes, unbelievers, that IS the sunrise. Which I have gotten up to see three times this week.

Unfortunately, my lovely peace of mind is beginning to fray as I’ve become increasingly more twitchy. And let me tell you why.

It’s the damn wind. When I first got here, the trees were still and the water was flat. Then a steady wind picked up on Monday and it hasn’t stopped since. Granted, it’s only about 15-20 miles per hour from the east, which is really no big whoop. The problem is that it’s incessant, all day and all night, with no lull. Wind in palm fronds may be one of my all time favorite sounds, but even that is starting to grate on my ears.

It’s like the meltemi, that summer wind in the Mediterranean that comes barreling through and drives the sea into a froth too dangerous to sail. Ferries stay docked and tourists complain; people sit idle and impatient; but mostly the wind just continues and doesn’t cease. I keep reading on the internet that people love the meltemi because it cools things down, but that’s not what I remember hearing in the Greek islands. Instead, there was a mixed and strained relationship with the wind - it could be soothing on occasion, but it was also infernal because it just NEVER ENDED. The constant sound of it, the constant feel of it, the constant frustration of having to right things that had been knocked over, the race to catch items before they blew away, the need to always raise your voice. I particularly remember the relentless snapping and tangling of my hair, sticking in my eyes and the corner of my mouth and twisting in my face. Eventually you just had to give up and sit in silence with your eyes shut tight, letting the wind coil around you and do its worst.

Googled painting of the meltemi by Caroline Huff.

It’s just those sorts of moments when the rumors of meltemi madness make complete sense. I don’t know if those rumors are true, of course, but I often heard about how the meltemi could make people completely lose it. People would just …snap. It may sound ridiculous, but there’s something intensely disturbing and uncanny about that hot endless wind, and the frustration it causes can just build and build until you’re ready to have a nervous breakdown. It actually feels like bad luck slithering across your skin. Even familial violence and murder were ascribed to that evil wind and I tell you, the sinister madness caused by the meltemi seemed completely understandable.

Anyways, I’m feeling a bit meltemi crazy at the moment, like I need to go run 10 miles or chop down a tree or something. I just want it to STOP, to be silent, to be still.

This is the moment when I’ll do the smart and sane thing. I’ll close the windows and go inside. And put in ear plugs.

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