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Storms

Last night, New York was subjected to wind, rain, and lightning. It was pouring down rain, but my girlfriend and I wanted to watch the storm play its way through the city. We ran around the corner from my dormitory to Nacho Mama's, arriving under their awnings about 50 feet and half a minute later drenched to the bone.

Over the course of a lazy Saturday, we'd been having a debate about the merits of New York summer. The summer heat has never made me happy, and when it's dry in New York I can't walk through the streets without a hacking cough. Sometimes it's allergies, sometimes it's just 'particulate matter,' or whatever their calling the nasty dust which rises out of the streets here. I'm not a fan of the sun, and the humidity does not make me happy. All in all, I was negative.

Summer storms change that, though. They clean the dust from the air, and by driving most people into their homes, clean the crowds from the street. On a Saturday night, we could sit in a nearly-empty cafe, watching lightning play around the high-rises.

A storm in New York isn't like those in El Paso, where you can see the sheets of water speeding at you across the plain, or in Alabama, where the approach of the storm cell burst heralded by a sudden muggy thickness in the already jelly-like humidity. The whole thing is much more muted: down in the concrete maze of apartment blocks, you can hear thunder and see rain, but the lightning is reduced to muzzle-flashes in the distance. Meanwhile, the city itself spotlights the thunderclouds through the reflection of its ambient light.

Every so often, when the weather is right on top of you, there's proper lightning. Otherwise, it's like viewing the storm through tunnel-vision.

Exams are over now. I can spend some small time looking up at the sky, instead of down at my books.

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