18 Apr


The feckless practice of employing weathermen in Arizona can be likened to paying large sums of cash for a state of the art chocolate fireplace. (Belgian chocolate of course!) 

Absolutely bloody senseless! 

Superfluous, a waste of rations, excess baggage, a complete and utter misappropriation of the cable-customers hard earned remuneration. Given that we have over three hundred days of sunshine, the speculative difference between a one hundred degree and a one hundred and two degree day really doesn’t faze or influence my plans in any way. Grey clouds gathering over surrounding mountains are a sure sign of rain and snow capped peaks in the distance are a definitive indication that Flagstaff is getting hammered. So, for fear of stating, nay questioning  the obvious, what’s the point of  a weatherman in Phoenix? 

When I plant my backside of an evening after peering through clean glass and generally poking around other people’s unmentionables, the local snooze is always a cause for frivolity. Mrs. Jones’s dog is still missing, the drug cartels are taking over the universe, and the entire United Sates hates Arizona because it’s actually taking a stand. Short, succinct and to the point with little or no corroboration or provenance. Less than adequate factoids and spun here-say for a nation with the attention span of a goldfish. A collage of commercialized disinformation and corporate financed fear mongering, closely followed by the weather. 

Cue jovial suntanned, bleach toothed, dyed-haired, wanna-be young guy. With state of art computer graphics and dilapidated Doppler radar he delivers with mucho-gusto enthusiasm and faux bonhomie his forecast for the morrow. If I were a gambling man who enjoyed the clatter of dice or the spin of the roulette wheel I would wager that tomorrow will be much the same as it was today – bloody hot. (but I’m just guessing!) 

No rain, no downpours, no deluge – no worries about searching for a hammer and a bag of nails to cobble together an ark in the back yard before the torrents arrive. We live in a desert – I get it; that must be the reason we’re surrounded by dirt and cactus. Just a tentative hypothesis but one hardly worth donning a deer stalker hat , or smoking a curly pipe for. Elementary my dear weather guru, tomorrow will be a scorcher. 

“…and expect strong winds.” 

What a tit-bit, a random fact, a little trivia to lighten the mood and ease the burden of triple digit insanity? Strong winds, what should I do buy a kite, steal a sailboat or how about I assemble the IKEA windmill I still have lying around in flat-pack boxes? 

Strong winds my arse! 

Given the copious quotidian quota of Mexican delicacies consumed in the land of Apollo I proffer the theory that strong winds may be inherent to the valley and not necessarily news worthy. Strong winds – humbug!  I sneer,  laugh out loud, open another bottle and switch channels. Time to get down to the serious stuff – American Idol is on. 

The next bum-burner of a day finds me cleaning windows for a woman who probably believes she’s blind. The dirt on her glass is so thick it’s a wonder that any light penetrates the den of crapola closeted within. The floor is piled high with everything she possesses – I need a machete to fight may way through her accumulated junk. 

There appears to be about twelve people in the house, the majority of whom are toddlers. Obviously this is some slapped together, make money quick, child minding scheme. A cottage industry supplied by the desperate and needy for the impoverished penury of two-job families. Mine is not to question why, but judging by the happy smiles and chocolate covered faces the kids are having a fantastic if unsupervised time. The doors are locked and those little plastic things are on the electrical outlets; what could possibly go wrong? 

Inside completed I just have the sun-screens to replace outside. The lady of the house can go back to watching day time TV or whatever else it is that she does when she’s busy doing absolutely nothing. 

The wind rustles the trees and I recall yesterday’s sage warnings. Beware the winds of March and the skin stripping oven temperatures that will sear flesh from bleached bone. Luckily I came prepared with multi-max-factor skin cream, a hat, and a pair of shades. As for the wind? Well its just wind, what could possibly go wrong? 

Climbing on to the roof I’m the master off all I survey, king of the world, untouchable, beyond the reach of middling-kind. Love that feeling – really puts a very necessary buzz into the window cleaning profession! I’ve always enjoyed heights and can’t understand those who cry vertigo or who’re afraid to climb a ladder. Did a house for a policeman once, a motorcycle cop. The man had size sixteen boots and carried a pistol to work everyday and yet was afraid to climb a ladder, and so hired me to the job instead. To be honest I’m grateful that it’s him with the pistol and me with the squeegee – but I’m sure you get my point. 

The wind starts to pick up, and a strong burst grabs my hat sending it spinning from my head, closely followed by my ladder which clatters to the ground. I’m left high and dry, stranded fifteen feet above terra-firma. 

“Tomorrow, beware of strong winds,” – the toothy TV grin flashes through my mind as I grip the window sill -pushing myself into the wall to stop myself from falling. Suddenly it’s not so amusing. Somehow I have to extricate myself form this precarious predicament and I’m short on brilliant ideas. In an instant my world has changed; what was normal and possible two seconds before is now completely impossible and beyond the scope of mortal man. I’m stuck, stranded, marooned, cast away on a radiating roof top covered in pigeon poop. 

“Tomorrow’s going to be a scorcher,” – BASTARD!! 

Like Robinson Crusoe perusing his island for a means of escape, I search uselessly for a footprint in the sand. 

A little help if you please…? 

More desolate than a lunar landing, the roof-scape offers no shelter, no sustenance and very possibly a warm lingering death. 

I envision a silk-suited wanker on TV reporting on an errant window cleaner who stupidly chose to ignore weather warnings and who despite specifics still dared to venture into the unknown. Stupid bugger what was he thinking? I see disinterest course across Americas face as they reach for fresh beer bottles. 

Self preservation is in my own hands – it’s just me, myself and I. How the hell do I get out of this ridiculous situation? I rap on the window but little-miss-industry downstairs has Judge Judy turned up so loud, my ears are ringing despite the double pane. I continue to rap. Hearing my plight a chocolate faced child puts its head into the room. I wave, try to look urgent, hoping for the best but fearing the worst – the child waves back, smiles and then disappears. Ignored by the youth of America I turn to the one thing which will give me comfort in my hour of need, raise my eyes heaven, close my eyes and scream like a girl. 

My plaintive cry rattles windows, and shifts tiles; Richter meters at geological institutes around the country flicker momentarily. 


Not even the dead, who I’ve awoken with my girly petulance, consider coming to my aid. The sun bakes and I begin to burn. I can smell the hairs on my arm frazzling. One hour more and I’ll be Melba toast – a dish best served hot and sweaty.There’s no dust clouded cavalry salvation; I’ve no choice, help isn’t coming. 

I’m going to have to jump. I peer over the ledge and look below. Vertigo strikes, and fifteen feet suddenly looks like fifty – my apologies to the speed cop! Doesn’t matter, I have to do this. If I’m ever going to live to kiss the dog and kick the wife again I need to grab myself by the inappropriates and just bloody go for it. 

No guts no Glory! I leap into space. 

My solo flight doesn’t last long and in an Icarus moment of self delusion actually believe I can flap my wings and land this thing. The cactus scratching my face and digging into my arse, like an overly zealous T.S.A. agent, proves otherwise. 

Mother earth beckons – what goes up, must crash and burn. As I pull thorns from my nether regions and brush desert dust from my eyes the front door swings opens. There she stands, the princess of domesticity complete with ham sandwich. 

She looks at me – looks at her destroyed cactus – and slams the door. Clearly the tip from the weatherman is the only one I’m going to get on this job. 



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