Heat

Jun 18, 2011 by

I write this in my hot front room, unwilling to submit to the air-conditioned comforts of my back bedroom just yet.

Last night, I found myself wanting to run out to the ice cream truck as it passed down my gray brick road a second time, but not to get a cold treat – I wanted to take a baseball bat to its loudspeaker.

I later heard a woman screaming outside for someone to keep away from her. In my heat-induced stupor, I hadn’t realized that she and her companion had apparently been walking up and down the street arguing with each other until it got too loud for my neighbors and I to ignore. Three NOPD cars showed up to try to clear it up. It took a while.

My husband’s car has been in the shop most of this week, leaving me to fend for myself transportation-wise. I didn’t realize how much I was thirsting, how deeply, desperately so, until I attended a gathering this morning and realized I could easily down an entire pitcher of ice water without blinking. This heat is a sneaky one. I tried to dodge it as best I could by waiting for buses and streetcars in shady spots, by lingering in the cooler places for moments longer in a manner akin to astronauts acclimating to their space suits before venturing into the black ether to do their work, but it still found me. I get simultaneously annoyed and sympathetic with those who complain about it as a result. I know the feeling, but I don’t want to know it…or be constantly reminded of it. I get enough of that just walking out my front door. It’s enough to feel it through the front door.

The scorching temperatures and the stifling humidity have been arriving early these past few years, leaving exploding roads, frayed nerves, and constant arguments over global warming in their wake. Since I am a Twitter addict, following meteorologists at this time is like watching an exercise in artificially-induced anxiety. If these people get this panicked over record-breaking temperatures, I don’t want to see what they say when the first hurricane that even looks at the Gulf Coast wrong forms. Hurricanes aren’t sentient, you say? Huh. Must be the heat talking.

This probably wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so dry. Where did those summer days go of a twenty-minute downpour in mid-afternoon because even the humidity-soaked clouds needed a release? I heard it said the estimates of when the floodwaters coursing through the Morganza Spillway would hit the towns and homes in harm’s way were off by a day due to the thirsty ground soaking up whatever it could first before becoming so choked with river water it had to let it go. If there were a way to pull up all that flow and make it rain all over Louisiana, I’m sure it would have been done by now. But here we are, united in our struggles with suffering, the earth, the animals, the people.

What makes these feelings worse? Staying here for most of it, or going to more temperate climes and then coming back to this suspended animation? I’m still undecided.

For the moment, and for the generally foreseeable future, I smolder along.

Liprap

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