Saturday, December 09, 2006

Perversion Is Better Than Inversion

For the past five days Salt Lake City has been helpless in the throes of one of our winter inversions. A high pressure systems sits over us, trapping cold air and pollutants in our bowl-shaped valley. If you're smart you stay inside until the inversion is over; if you have to work in it like me you come away from a day's labor with a splitting headache and a fuzzed-over tongue.

This morning when I left my house it was 17ยบ, and within moments of being out in chilly, polluted air it felt like Brillo pads had been hammered into my sinuses with dirty icicles. It was hard to breathe and when I did the rotten taste of the inversion was in my mouth. I feel our inversion is probably something like the killer fogs that used to settle over London in years past. People with respiratory problems are warned to stay indoors, but c'mon…some of us have to earn a living and we have to be out in that stuff.

I found these pictures on the Internet, taken from some kinky magazine of a bygone era. I could probably use one of these suits with gasmasks, but I'd forego the lacy garter belt, thank

Just for the hell of it, who could find these outfits sexy? I don't care how kinky you are, there ain't nobody who could find someone with a gasmask the least bit sexy.I'm familiar with gasmasks. Not these, but the more official military mask. When I was in the Army in the mid '60s I went through gas training five times. The first time was during Basic Training. We were taken into a small building wearing our regulation gasmasks. A form of gas called CS, more commonly known as tear gas, permeated the room. We were given a short lecture, then we had to take off our masks, walk around in single file in a circle and file out the door. If anyone bolted or panicked he was put back into line and we would march again. We hit the open air with tears streaming from our eyes. There was a godawful burning sensation, too. It took a while to clear our eyes, standing with our faces toward any breeze that might be coming by.

The last time I went through the gas chamber a couple of years later I thought I had it down. This time the drill was, according to the sergeant's instructions, take a deep breath, then remove the mask, say name, rank and service number, walk calmly to the door and out. Since I was such a know-it-all I didn't think I needed to listen, so I took off my mask, then took a deep breath. When I opened my mouth to speak all that came out was a squeak. Luckily the sergeant didn't chew my ass, just pushed me out the door. I'm sure I felt about as dumb as I looked.

While our inversion isn't anywhere near as unpleasant as the experiences I went through in the Army, it's bad enough.

Ciao for now, El Postino

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