They sky is falling and so is my level of optimism

Outside, the ceiling is gray, the ground is wet, and the North Carolinians are afraid.

There is a certain uneasiness mixed in with the two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen. The raindrops are performing useless CPR on our air supply. Passing cold and warm fronts are eying each other like boxers from their corners. Both sides have decided to forego protective equipment. No one has the fortitude to ring the bell, but everyone knows a fight is coming and it is going to be bloody.

Weather foecasters are predicting thunderstorms. Two frightened North Carolina schools closed down after the town drunk spotted funnels in the sky. I am not the only one who fears what is in the air.

It’s all in the way people are looking at each other. There is an uncertain distrust, a mild disdain, and a cloaked disapproval. In short, people aren’t hugging each other when they meet in the hallways.

Perhaps my recent uneasiness involves a recurring dream that I only have when I’m awake. It’s almost impossible to describe, but it goes a little something like this:

Two men (they have different faces and names almost every time, but sometimes they are my father and one of his brothers) are looking at each other. There is tension in their voices and their eyes won’t unlock. They are speaking in almost inaudible whispers. Their lips are barely moving. They are having a conversation I can’t hear and that’s probably for the best. It’s obvious whatever they are talking about will scare me. But what is for the best soon falls off of a cliff, because whatever they are talking about escalates to an almost homicidal degree. One moment they are speaking in hushed tones, the next they are screaming and not caring who listens. But the most distubing part…almost as quickly as they start screaming, they start to whisper again. Then it happens again. A scream, a whisper, a scream.

This usually only enters my head for a few seconds then dissolves into uneasiness. I’ve never actually seen this happen, especially with my father. He usually kept any trouble he was dealing with in a place far away from me. Just one reason to love my dad and mom.

But that uneasiness is here. I feel it this time without having had the day dream first.

Very little of what happens around me ever bothers me. I see life’s daily inconsistencies and egomaniacs as part of an unseen engine that needs its ugly parts to run its pretty parts. I even like to be scared. Some of my most fond memories are having my wits scared almost completely out of me. I love horror movies (when they are well done). I like scary books (the kind where the monsters are actually people…or maybe, more precisely, the people are monsters). That said…I consider myself a fairly rational person.

But what is in the air right now is irrational. It doesn’t make its decision based on what’s best for the people breathing it in. Simply put, the ugly parts of this running engine are the parts that could destroy it.

Fear not. I am not losing my mind. I am not about to hole myself up in Greene County, Missouri’s Fantastic Caverns.

I just don’t feel right about my little microcosm of friends and co-workers right now. And, like the ol’ country song goes…If the microcosm ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

Note: I’m introducing an incomplete, but new blog today. Several of my friends and their friends (we’re looking at about 20-30 men) are preapring to embark on a trip to Las Vegas. I’m trying to get all of them (or all of YOU, some cases) to blog as we get ready. You’ll find the new site…which looks a lot like this one…at HeCon: Vegas.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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