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Monday April 23, 2001, 02:36

I ran around the house, flinging open windows like a madman. Spring had arrived, and boy was she fiesty.

Actually, I couldn't really tell if it was spring or her big sister summer. See, I had woken up and it was cold. And I took a shower and I got out of the shower and it was still cold. And I was reading email and talking to friends and it was still cold. And my dog started barking so I went downstairs to let him outside, opened the porch door and it hit me.

Hard.

This wave of warm, dare I say hot, humid air came tumbling into the house and blew right through me. I rushed outside and let the dog out of the porch, peering at the thermometer mounted on the side of the garage. Eighty degrees in the sun. Eighty degrees. Yesterday it was on the shy side of sixty. There was a chill in the air when I got off the train and drove home. But today. Today was run around in the grass with your shoes and socks off like you were nine years old again hot.

I spent the rest of my day with my shoes off, my shirt sleeves rolled up to my shoulders, sitting on the front steps to the house, dog by my side, reading. I felt like something out of the Andy Griffith show. Without the fishing poles. Or Andy Griffith. And in color too. Whatever.

It was the kind of day that makes everyone happy. If I had been walking around in the city I would have noticed people shedding their winter shells, smiling more at strangers and probably holding hands more than just a day ago. But I was not in the city today and just noticed people driving by with their windows open. Or closed. With air conditioning.

I did hear bees flying by. The wind rustling the grass. I heard the pine trees shake, high above the house, as the winds blew through. And I heard the stream bubbling through the front yard. The suburbs, I told my dog, holding his head in my hands, are great for people who want to get away. For people who want a safe bubble, the suburbs are perfectly designed. My house is set far from the road and the only interactions we might have with neighbors are when they take the shortcut through our yard as they are walking into town to catch the train.

Cities have the excitement of millions of people all living on top of each other, interacting with each other, not because they want to, but because they have to. They have culture and grime and endless opportunity.

The suburbs have trees and kids with driver's licenses. And I can accept the fact that they both have a place in my life.

But that thing about romping around in the grass though? Forget it. I've got this big fear of stepping on something that could sting me.

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