THE Hunter storm season has been hot and steamy this year.
And like a good tango, it makes you sweat, particularly walking up the hill after work (when the storms seem to break with uncanny timing) to where your car is parked.
Next to many likely lightning conductors, which could be anything taller than you, or failing that, you.
Weather does cross your mind in these situations. Like whether it might be a better idea to wait until the storm passes.
The idea of being zapped by the fickle finger of fate is a rational and irrational fear at the same time.
Like being concerned the Jets won't win a game this season. Or being eaten by a shark in the lake. Or have a job after the next round of irrationalisations. Rational or otherwise, the fear is real when you're out in the field.
Putting that aside, it's been a good storm season so far. Kind of what you associate with the northern latitudes.
Big heat during the day, anvil head storm clouds pushing in of an afternoon, climaxing with a big show. Marvellous.
It gives the place a sense of daily crescendo worthy of the pending rail closure on December 26.
Will they or won't they?
Close it. Chain themselves to a loco. Leave it up to the council to decide.
Whatever the decision, I'm tipping thunder, lightning and zero hailing.
The high humidity also gives the place that heady organic smell often associated with damp laundry and urban revitalisation.
Lord knows the laundry is always damp lately. (And dirty if you believe the rail commentators.) Good luck reminding someone to get the clothes off the line.
The storms have been good for the garden. You can nearly rely on it getting a decent water at least once a day. It may be explosive, and come with ice cubes the size of golf balls, but water's water.
And doesn't a good downpour get you focused on downpipe technology. And how one day you should unblock them.
Because yes, water does make nice brown patterns on the ceiling when it backs up under the eves and pools over the ceiling fan, and drips down onto your bed.
Oh well, I guess that's what they invented tarpaulins for.
There's no denying, a good storm is a sight to behold.
In fact, judging by the number of Instagram posts the Herald receives, storms are the second most important reason why they invented social media, after cats.
And as any cat will tell you, if they could talk, storms can be disconcerting.
I often talk to my cats and they seem to agree with me on a lot of things.
Particularly about hiding under a bed when the lightning sparks up.
That's because I'm damaged goods.
As a young'un I had a close encounter with Mother Nature, which left me deeply respectful of the prospect of being blown to pieces.
Back in the day when milk came in a bottle, I was sent down to the shop on my bike to get one.
Riding home, lightning struck a telegraph pole not 40 metres away. It left a deep impression, mainly on my underwear.
I mean the milk bottle. Which got dropped quicker than I was by Mary Smith back in sixth grade. (Why Mary?!)
It was scary, not only the way Mary discarded me, shattered like the milk bottle, but also the awesome power. I've been wary of lightning ever since.
It possibly explains why I talk to cats.
Storms can make people do other strange things.
Like ring you up near the end of a hard day at work and ask if you'd mind grabbing a can of baby beets for dinner, and pick someone up from the movies.
That can cause a few storm clouds in the mind because maybe you were looking forward to going straight home after work for a cold beer or seven.
And maybe Charlestown isn't exactly on the way home as claimed.
And maybe the movie finish time (sometime before midnight) is a bit vague.
And judging by the green glow over Mount Sugarloaf, maybe there's another apocalyptic storm approaching.
But we're all adults, and adults are down with rhetorical questions, right? We know "would you mind" means "who cares", particularly when they're cooking dinner.
Lucky you didn't resolve to swear off that beer (or six) entirely after the Melbourne Cup, because that would have been excessive. It was more a rhetorical flourish than a line in the sand. And sand shifts through the hour glass. Such are the days of our lives. Let's go to Charlestown and attract lightning.
Yes storm season can have many permutations. Like how the call always goes out to unplug all the electrical devices when a storm strikes.
And then someone rings you at the peak of the tempest to warn you about the danger heading your way.
The instinct is to tell the person "the danger is already here, get off phone before it explodes next to my ear".
I'm not sure if that's technically even possible, but it can be a convenient excuse to hang up on someone before they ask you to pick up something or someone after work.