Desperately Seeking Shade

Did you ever have a philosophy that became all-consuming?
My wife does – one requirement dictating her every move: “Park in the Shade.”

She can awake, start the day to the agony of a clanking dryer, discover a broken spring on the automatic garage door, womanhandle the  heavy door womanually, rush the Teen to school, double back for the Teen’s books, bruise the tires on a series of “Jello molds,”beat the school bell and then be pleased as a pixie to have snatched the last shady spot in homeland’s lot. It doesn’t matter the spot is in the Outer Mongolian region of the lot, necessitating hiking shoes and a backpack.

“I got the shade, honey,” she smiles sweetly, waking me.
“Any problem getting the Teen to school?” I ask, certain I heard a few strange noises, obviously dreaming.
“I got the shady parking spot,” she answers. Euphoria with a capital E… cancels out all other concerns.

The Dear Wife’s “shady spot” quest has been an obsession most of her adult life, emerging from an early red vinyl-grasping-tushy-toasting experience one sweltering Oklahoma summer. That day, known in the Silliman household as BB (Burnt Buns) Day is the day the ecology, “Never Give Up,” “Never Trust Anyone over 30,” “Beware of All Salespeople,” and “Life is Like a Pool game” took a back seat.

This was before “sunglasses” existed for car windows, before reliable tinted windows, before underground parking garages in the sunbelt.

Her shade mania became so pervasive, she would seek out other shade seekers, to partner, to gloat at the shadeless, to compare shadows.  This lead the dear wife to join with Suzie Sallow in forming the SSSS (Sunbelt Shade Snatching Society), a group which meets in dark, air conditioned restaurants, located in five story or taller buildings.  You may have heard of their good works:  Persuading shopping center developers to plant sycamores; petitioning architects to design upward, not outward; convincing stores to build two entrances… west in the morning and east in the afternoon.  The SSSS claims responsibility for those huge canopies over service stations, as well as double-decker bridges, the bottom half for shade seekers.

This lead to a confrontation with the sun worshipers.  As a friendly resolution, a volleyball game was suggested.  You may remember it, as it was a classic — the Pallid vs. the Tanned, played on the grounds of a nudist camp.  The Shades, being the clothed team under the oak tree.  The spectators were in the sun.  … as were the winners.

It wasn’t like the national sunlight policy hung in the balance in this game… one of the few things that didn’t.  The goal, from the Shades’ viewpoint, was to focus media attention on the anti-sun worshiping position… unfortunately, the media’s attention as well as that of the spectators , was elsewhere.



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