Friday, August 10, 2007

ok so i'm making more out of this heat than it is, sure, it's 98/98- 98 in the shade, 98 percent humidity. before airconditioning folks here sat around in the shade and drank ice tea all afternoon, did all actual work in the early morning, and then had all social life at night. afternoons were pretty much shot, with the sun beating down and pressing on your eyelids. nowadays we hit a blast of cold air when we come into a building, where they have it pushed down to fifty so that'll compensate for the fact that we've been out in the sauna. then you get into your car, and it's twice as bad, because even if the windows are open, the sun's been coming in, and turning the sweat you left on the seat, into dry heat. so you crank the airconditioner and off you go. the kids, belted in the back seat, squirm knowing that they're in a tenuous position, in an oven and unable to move.

so i play bluegrass or african music with the cd player as i drive, and try to see through the sun's glare, or better yet, avoid the roads entirely and stay home, or in the office. it's not that it's hotter than usual, it's more that i've become wimpier than usual, less tolerant of the fifty degree jump between refrigerated buildings and the outdoors; less willing to suffer so much just because i have errands to do. it seems inhumane, being forced to stay indoors in the summer, getting high bills, reading a book, being unable to work outside, all that stuff we should experience in winter but, in an ironic twist, don't. so i get another gig in cobden, this one at the yellow moon again, and go out there, to a small town on a large railroad track, a kind of extreme version of what carbondale is, only it has a lot of apple orchards around it, and some hills. i play the train song, twice, second time on demand, and tell train stories as are buried in this blog, deep inside. and, lo and behold, upon coming out of the place, in this small town, there's the train. and, it's finally a very nice temperature. about eleven at night, and it's beautiful out. so i roll the windows down, drive slow, and take the backroads home, by the jesus es el senor church and the migrant labor camps. there are tons of stars out there, more than i've seen in years. you can smell the grass and the fresh-cut hay which i'd seen- one of my kids called them round-circle hays. deer off to the side of the road, giving me the eye. the only other people on these roads are usually going pretty fast, but tonight there were only one or two; it was a pretty nice ride home. sometimes i feel like life here in the summer is a pressure cooker- see how much of this you can take. students come back in august, so they paint dawg paws on the streets (my kids call these clues, since a dog paw is a clue on a blues' clues video that we watch)- and the sign-dancer has a hard time standing near a rock at the bottom of the hill on main, where the street comes out from under the trees and onto a great wide straightaway with nothing but the glaring sun, a burger king, a gas station and a parking lot. the pizza store is genius, hiring that sign-dancer, because he's the only life in the whole town that's not hidden behind shut-up windows and blasting air-con, he's the only one you can count on actually being out in the street, and you wonder how much he's suffering or even if he's going to get out there and do his sign-dancing thing on a day like this. but hey, everyone else just keeps on keeping on- the garbage men, the mailman, the construction workers- even the kids, they think this is normal. and they might say: dad doesn't like going outside to play baseball in this kind of weather- which is true, and unnatural, if you ask me- but even that's normal. yet playing baseball on thanksgiving or new years, that would be normal too. and they call this season, with the students coming back, fall- that's because, if you go out, and you forget to drink a lot of water, or, if you lose your balance- that's what might happen to you. but hey, what's balance when, it's middle of summer, and you can't even go to the park- the slide will burn you- the little rocks on the ground are too hot to step on- well, yes, you can go there, but only in the middle of the night. you just don't see anyone around in the middle of the day- and if you do, you know they're desperate- because what, you think people would walk in this stuff just for the sake of walking? in the summer?

yet, if you're still, and if you've been here a few of these, you notice that it did turn, it turned just a little, got a little drier, maybe the days got just a touch shorter. it's hard to notice, when it's pressing against your eyelids and it's kind of searing, like a blowdrier or something. like i said, i'm making more of it than it is, because it really never got over a hundred, it almost never does, and, though it's like a sauna, half the summer, around now, it becomes more like a broiler, with the moisture pulled right out of you, and the grass crackling beneath your feet. won't rain again until november, but when it does, look out. by then, you'll have forgotten what rain is. or, what might pile up in your gutter, when you're not looking.

3 Comments:

Blogger Peggy said...

On hot days like that, the only thing I could do was wait until the day turned into a hot night and drive, windows open naturally, to the rootbeer stand. I never thoght of banjo music, that would help.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous bruce said...

When it's only a little hot, like 90/90, I sometimes prefer "System 460" air conditioning -- 4 windows open, 60 MPH. But somehow my passengers don't appreciate that; when I have passengers I have to use the fancy technology. Also if I want to listen to a CD, I have to close the windows.

12:14 AM  
Blogger J-Funk said...

During Minnesota summers I always put on a jacket to be inside and took it off to go outside. At the grocery store the checkers wear winter coats all year round because the only temperature control they seem to have is air conditioning (that's the important one).

The heat is part of summer. Here it's only hot for about a weekend and you might miss summer entirely.

9:51 AM  

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