Phoenix -> Summer

Living the American Coma

By: Stephan Miller

I stood outside on my balcony this weekend. Lightning bolts shook the sky and the whole world was encased in a sick emerald green. The air had a chill to it and just minutes before was silent. Not so now. Trees are bowing to the ground and limbs are flying across the road.

Strange site. Why? It the middle of the summer in Phoenix. Its not the midwest. I had to stay outside for the whole show, getting soaked in the process and making my neighbors think I'm nuts. Phoenicians are wimps when it comes to water. They are so used to the status quo that they even paint their houses the same color as the desert. So much for change, for variety.

But who can blame them. There is one temperature here. Hot. I mean, how hard could it be to be a weatherman here. After all, once it gets to 105 can you really tell the difference. The desert hardly changes and it was beginning to effect me.

My life seemed to take on the life of the desert, where you would have to watch for years to see something change. Where was the trouble, the stress, the good fight to fight? I was trapped in the comfort zone. No problems, but no real happiness either. I was making more money than ever before, but still not enough to brag about. And I was trapped. I was going to fall for the lie of living the American Coma instead of the American Dream.

Smiling like an idiot in the middle of the thunderstorm, I realized something. Storms will come and many will greet them as disasters. Houses will be flooded and traffic accidents will occur. People will hide in their houses afraid of what will happen. Others will see life changing the rules. A challenge to be met. A chance to grow. A reason to wake up.

The "chances of getting struck by lightning" are always used as a reference for such rarely occurring events as winning the lottery. I plan on increasing my odds. The next storm that comes through my life I am going to chase, because it will come.

I will not hide in my comfort zone. I will not sleep though it. Because sometimes it takes a storm to wake you up, change the way you look at the world, and create something new.

The morning after the storm, the world is alive. There are actually spider webs on the trees, the grass is greener and those still in a coma drive past it all, to work, making a quick call to the roofer because their roofed leaked last night.

Stephan Miller is an freelance programmer, writer, and webmaster at

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