Tornado watch, and there was no violence at the robotics competition, no flame-throwing, no gears clattering and rolling off into the warehouse. Friendly nerds, in the sense that they like to build things rather than buy things already built. They comfort me. It was seventy-five in February, but wouldn’t be for long, arches of clouds were surrounding the valley. Fooled, the mosquitoes and crickets woke up and were at the windows. This is nature writing in the transcendental sense, my out-of-body experience during the semi-finals, the theme: people versus creation, oftentimes the bitter cold, but today the storm. Everyone should have a good twister story—the weather is so nervous before it really picks up. Hours before, they asked me to give a speech during opening ceremonies, which I nailed with no prep. Then things went wacko. See here, there was a playing of the National Anthem before the machines revved up and maneuvered, while a ninth-grader admitted her love for someone in eighth. There was no line yet at the concessions stand. I felt—some bliss. I couldn’t feel myself in my Nikes. The display of imagination and fine-tuning was remarkable in these young people, and it truly knocked me out of my life.

It wore off. Even the tornado watch expired with no drama or even rain. A team I had no fealty to won the championship, and I had that post-epiphany headache.  That aspect of happiness that is bored crept in. They were rolling the credits at the robotics competition and I still had to lock up. I said my congratulations and the winning driver said, “Never forget who you are.”

That’s fair. I used to, I suppose. Now I try to remember, though I had just seen the future.

In the speech I gave, I said it was so wonderful to see young people reject virtual violence and embrace teamwork. I said, in the coming days, we’ll need…I’ve forgotten. As I said, this was all top of the head. This is me, signing off, after an experience of the uncanny.