Wednesday, July 25, 2012

West Nile Virus

Dallas, why do you give me new reasons to fear going outside?

I was just starting to feel good about things. I was finally willing to believe that, July or not, it can be reliably nice enough to go outside for a long walk every single evening. Even during the day, I've discovered I can plan a trip down the shady alleyways and still make it to the post office by five o'clock. And, this is the thing I'm really going to miss, I was just starting to get lost.

When I first came here, I used to take one-street out-and-back runs, switching my cell phone from palm to sweaty palm, turning around when the street ended because I was afraid I would forget the dogleg or the hard right turn or the T-shaped intersection on the way back, forget what I had already seen and what I hadn't, forget my address if someone tried to help. But only this week I was investigating a tangle of streets with the cutest little houses and following the street just because I liked a series of red doors I'd never noticed, when I got to an intersection of streets that meant nothing to menot their names, not their angles. Do you know, Dallas, how happy I was to be lost? Do you understand that you need to know a place pretty well before you're willing to go so far as to lose your bearings? Do you see that I wasn't worried about finding my way home because, running these streets, I already felt at home? And that's taken a while. It's still taking a while.

Which is why I wish you wouldn't make me afraid to leave the house. I appreciate the novel ways you warn about the quality of the air and the threat of the heat, but when people start dying, here and there, in the neighborhood next to ours, and you suggest that everyone stay indoors at dawn and dusk because that's when the mosquitos are most active, well I've already itched the bite on my knee until it bled, and the bites scattered across my calf itch too, and I didn't mind until you said that this, too, was a problem, that this is one more irritation I'm not supposed to ignore.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Just the other day I got a bug bite on my back-top EARLOBE, as well as other places less exotic. Super annoying, but at least I don't have to worry about getting any fearsome diseases!