Extroverted Exoskeleton


This weekend we had people over, and because I am an extreme introvert, I hyped myself up warming up in b-ball shorts and a hoodie, wearing my Beats headphones shadow boxing to Barbra Steisand singing People from Funny Girl.

I am a human Transformer. I can switch my insides outside and become Extroverted Exoskeleton.  If only my flesh and blood were increasingly complex interlocking pieces of plastic, it might be easier. It is a herculean feat to untwist and turn me, my arms pop out, my legs unfold, my neck swivels and I become talking social person, normal and adept at the normal people things.

Things are fine. I am doing well. The neighbor asked me what the spinning whirlygig attached to our deck was, and I explained it was my anemometer that measures and records the wind speed.  Then I pointed out my hygrometer, measuring the temperature and humidity, over there by the shed, and also, there’s a rain bucket that I keep in the front yard that keeps track of the rainfall.

It rained at precisely six o’clock, and as we gathered up our paper plates, soda cans, and children to come inside the house, I observed out loud to the guests that Accuweather’s original 6pm prediction turned out to be the correct one — and not their late afteroon revised forecast that had guessed the rain would not come until 9pm.

Later the neighbor remarked to my wife that I was “really into weather,” and my wife brought the comment to me later on with a bit of gentle teasing, and I shrugged that I’m not really into weather, I’m just really into obsessing.

I had received the weather monitoring station for Christmas. It was one of those Costco buyouts, the sort of crap that even people who shop at weird stores like Brookstone can’t be bothered with. Weather monitoring! For when the app on your phone, Alexa, the internet, the television, Facebook, and looking outside your window fail you!

It’s like a science kit for grown ups, where instead of making a volcano to learn useless facts about the properties of baking soda, you learn useless facts about the wind. For instance, the current windspeed is 5mph — and the largest wind gust in the last 24 hours was 10 mph. And I don’t know what to make of this information, but I enjoy having it.

I enjoy knowing that I could create a personal almanac for my house. I am certain the spiders who live in my yard would be very interested in the immediate wind conditions of the two-foot perimeter surrounding my house for building their webs. If spiders could read, if spiders had money and could buy almanacs, I would be rich. I would be a millionaire because there are millions of them fuckers.

It’s calming to monitor the weather. It’s much better than obsessively reading things on the Internet to monitor the likelihood of thermo-nuclear war, or cautiously monitoring whether it’s a sunburn or cancer.

It’s also calming to eat guacamole until it begins to fill in a layer of spackle that might one day repair the giant hole in my being that is afraid of accidentally saying something stupid. Cancer and nuclear war are less scary, sometimes.

It’s calming to sit with people and feel good among them. People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.

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