It is stifling hot in Minnesota, more like Savannah than St. Paul, and if the heat wave goes on much longer, I am bound to start writing a play in which folks sit around in their underwear beneath a ceiling fan and drink sloe gin and curse the degeneracy of their ancestors that cost them the old plantation, Bellefleur, where the negroes used to dance and clap and get happy every evening down by the smokehouse.
So begins “Shut my mouth if this ain’t a heat wave,” a column by Garrison Keillor that appears in today’s Courier-Journal, and is the best explanation yet offered for why the weird gets weirder the closer one gets to the Mason-Dixon line (and, by extension, the deeper one penetrates the Old Confederacy).
Not that I’m offering deterministic and meteorological explanations for the current headlines in New Albany, but it certainly ranks among those topics that make you go, “hmmmm,” especially recalling that natives of Northern Indiana believe that Kentucky begins just south of Seymour (which they retain as Hoosier only because John Mellencamp was born there).
Consequently, it seems somehow appropriate that as the city of New Albany holds budget hearings, embarks upon another “last call” sewer discussion and watches as the Scribner Place project’s wheels wobble precariously, all of it has come about precisely during the prolonged period of the summer’s hottest, nastiest and most humid weather.
For some, a measure of semi-tropical lethargy has intervened, and I’ll count myself among the casualties. If you wish to read about any of the topics mentioned above, I recommend proceeding directly to the web sites of the New Albany Tribune and the Courier-Journal, navigating their search engines, and reading the handy results, because I seem to be lacking the energy to assemble the links in NAC’s accustomed fashion.
This recommendation is not to imply that I’ve abandoned current affairs or don’t have an opinion to offer on budgets, sewers and redevelopment projects. Like the sadly discredited cylist Floyd Landis’s incredible 17th stage Tour de France triumph in July, the August 7 New Albany city council meeting promises to be an all-time etertainment spectacle of competing world views, fiscal infighting, back-stabbing and flagrant sewer-related demagoguery, and I wouldn’t miss the forthcoming Springeresque display for the world.
But until then, the climatic extremity seems to have raised the volume of spite and venom dispensed at (non-air conditioned?) establishments like the Luddite Bar & Grill, and the last thing that I want to do is make the mad-as-hell denizens of Yokel Arms any unhappier at the prospect of paying 20 cents a day more for their sewers (in the year 2009) than they aready are.
After all, as Keillor notes, they just might be packing heat.