The last week has been one of unexpected developments, most of them good, one bad, and one just sort of bewildering.
The first of these surprises came when I returned from my grandmother's house on Thursday, June 28, with Powell following close behind.
"Now, listen," I told my 22-year-old brother, whose tendency for hard partying in other people's residences has caused issues in the past. "I don't mind you staying since Mom and Dad are on vacation, but it has to be just us."
"And Jewfro," my brother said.
"Yeah, that's fine," I replied. Thomas's seventeen-year-old best friend, a talented producer and, with me, devout Game of Thrones nerd, has become like a family member in the last year. "But that has to be it."
"No problem," he smirked. "We'll get down on some Game of Thrones. It'll be awesome."
Three hours later my front door opened to admit Ghetto Boy, fresh out of jail; Black Boy, fresh from a party at his own house; Jewfro, the only welcome guest; and, at last, my brother, who strode through the threshold wearing a massive sombrero.
"Powell, what the hell!?" I exclaimed.
"BB, just calm down," he said. He drew a bottle of flavored vodka from his backpack and grinned. "It's going to be okay."
Several shots in this all seemed much less objectionable to me, and I joined in with zest as the young men around our table engaged in an impromptu freestyle rap battle.
"My name is Powell Guy," I sang. "I wear a giant hat/Gonna join the Marines/Nah, nigga, fuck all that."
The backyard exploded in laughter and Black Boy actually shook.
"Nigga, BB just fried the shit out of you!" he cried.
When no one could think of anything sufficiently insulting for me, I jumped in on myself.
"My name is BB Kid/And I am lookin' twelve/And I'm a big old fag/So I'm gon' go to Hell."
All in all it was great fun, even if Powell saddled me with the cleanup, but I was not feeling nearly so exuberant the following evening when a demonic force of nature left me alone and without power in a 200-year-old house in the middle of nowhere.
I held my dogs close to me as the lightning raged and objects hit the house, then drove to a friend's home once conditions had calmed down. I would have done better to stay put. Trees blocked the roads, power lines were down, and the greater part of Mountain Town was enveloped in a darkness that some people in this region have yet to find relief from.
Morning's light revealed the damage.
You may have noticed that the outdoor patio set in the above picture is missing its umbrella. That's because the winds took it off. I found it, after a bit of exploring, in a cow field a quarter mile away. This thrashing was followed by a heatwave more savage than any I can remember, with temperatures here staying at 100 degrees or higher for a week and reaching 105 yesterday afternoon. We in the South are accustomed to searing summers but this is extreme even by our standards.
The weathermen predict relief this week, thank God.
Another and much more welcome surprise came on Friday, July 6, when my grandmother gave me control over one of my trust funds. This wasn't entirely unexpected, as she'd told me she was going to do it about two weeks beforehand, but the reality of it didn't really dawn on me until I was on my way to the bank Friday morning.
This is a bit of money, I thought to myself as I rolled through Mountain Town. What am I going to do with all this money?
I'll get a smoothie.
It is not so much that all of my woes are wiped away, but it is enough that I could pay all of my expenses for the next year without working and have a good amount left. I view it as a cushion, not a crutch, a boon that, if managed wisely, could make my transition from college student to young professional go much more easily.
It comes in the nick of time, too; my parents have been relentless in demanding rent and were unmoved by the fact that the $400 they wanted by the start of the month was more than I had in the bank.
Now I could pay them for years (not that that's the goal) and still be fine.
I did indulge a little bit.
On Friday afternoon I filled up my gas tank without the slightest care. Both yesterday and today I went out to lunch. Earlier I went so far as to buy myself two CDs from iTunes. But already, a mere two days after receiving these funds, the voice of worry has entered my head.
You can't go crazy, BB. You have to handle this well. Once it goes away it's not coming back. This has to last until you find a real job.
As if Christina Aguilera records and cheeseburgers were going to bankrupt me. But that's how I am. I stretched the last fund over four years, though, and that was while I was in college and with a smaller amount in hand, so hopefully I'll be alright.
Another nice surprise: it would seem that my voice is back. It's been running away from me since February or so and now, hopefully, has returned to stay. More on that later, though. I've babbled enough as it is.