“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Ana’s that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch.”
That’s the opening line to Raymond Chandler’s short story “Red Wind.” I’ve long been a fan of Chandler’s writing for its vivid moodiness of which that line is a great example. It also describes how Austin felt the other evening, when a wind stirred up at the end of a hot day.
Temperatures here are now regularly getting into the high 90s Fahrenheit (high 30s Celsius) which means the day can really hit a road block come mid-afternoon, when your body just wants to lie down and melt.
But once the temperature slightly eases off around 6 p.m. and a wind manages to rally, then you get a sense of an intensity that’s being lying dormant and which might well make itself known once darkness descends.
“On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.”