Creepy Day

As we occupy the bizarre liminal space between Christmas and the end of the year, the weather in Texas has been similarly marginal and indecisive — it’s mostly hot, but often very overcast; it always seems like it wants to rain, but then it doesn’t. Every so often, it will become suddenly, strangely cold. Today’s weather can best be described as ominous — the sky was low and flat and dark and everything took on a sort of paused, surreal feeling. Edith and I took our afternoon walk to the playground through mostly deserted streets, and whenever a stray person did appear, I had the strange desire to shoo them back into their house.

At the playground, Edith didn’t really want to swing, which was strange, although her compulsion to eat wood chips was in full force. Right when we arrived, a little boy with a skateboard scuttled out from the play equipment, shot us a sort of horrified look, and then dashed off as if fleeing, looking back over at his shoulder at us several times. That was strange. After we left the park, we went to the soccer field and sat in the grass for awhile, so Edith could eat a cracker and look around, and a man walked by with a load of mail. We said hello, and he continued on, but then when he got to the far side of the soccer field, I said, “We should go home, it’s about to rain,” to Edith, and he whipped around and stared at us with his mouth open. And then, as he walked away, he looked back at us several times with a sort of suspicious disgust.

I don’t know what that was about — maybe he suddenly thought that I seemed like I might be having some Betty Draper-style breakdown, sitting in the middle of the field with my baby when it was about to pour down? Like, maybe he was suddenly concerned? I don’t know.

I have a rain shield for Edith’s stroller, which I’d never used before, and I put it over her stroller on the walk home. It was pretty handy and I was feeling pleased with my foresight to have bought it and stored it in the stroller basket, but then I noticed it kept tugging weirdly to one side. This was because Edith had grabbed the side of it, bunched it all into a big wad in her fist, and was gnawing away at it.

“Stop, Edith!” I said. “I don’t know if that’s BPA-free!”

But she wouldn’t stop, and eventually she pulled the whole cover off and I rolled the stroller over it in the damp street.

It didn’t really ever open up and commit to raining, though. It was so humid that when we got home, I had to crank the air up, but this weekend, it’s supposed to be down in the 20s. I always tend to get sick when the weather is switching frequently between hot and cold, and that might explain why I’m having such a hard time kicking this cold.

Or maybe it’s because this week of the year is always cursed.

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