When I was 7, or 8 maybe, they canceled school as they did for my kids today. Now, it wasn’t for the snow, I lived in the high desert of the Mojave and it did indeed snow there from time to time, no, this day they canceled school because it was simply too damn hot. I couldn’t give you the numbers, I was a kid and I didn’t pay attention to that. What I do remember is the reason my mother said I couldn’t go outside.

The asphalt was melting see.

They thought of the street turning into so wave of blackness to swallow me whole terrified me beyond rational thought and I spent this day where the temperatures had to be in the upper limits of human endurance hiding in my closet so I wouldn’t get swallowed by the street.

Yeah, I was a troubled child.

I would have panic attacks like this more often as we lived in Lancaster longer and longer. Earthquakes, melting asphalt, my mother getting out of her room for the first time in a week, CPS, school, and on and on.

A totally irrational fear of things that were above and beyond any sphere of control I was aware of. School never did it to me, personal interactions, meetings, but when it came to things I couldn’t micromanage, that is when I would collapse into the little closet that I spent so much time in that I had a blanket, a lamp and the books that kept me sane by taking me far away from scary things like the San Andreas fault line and 125 degrees in the shade.

I may not have a closet anymore, but I still have the panic attacks, I just got better books and sweet air conditioning.

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