The Heat of the Moment
No Safe Haven in the Hills
There’s only one thing on my
mind right now, and my guess is, we all share the thought.
It is sweltering! The heat is oppressive, excessive,
downright overwhelming at times.
I write this in July. We have endured at least a month of
baking summer heat. The grass is brown and dead. There is an advantage to
this: I don’t have to pay the lawn-mower guy, and I don’t have to water it.
I dislike watering. Next summer, I will plant nothing but cacti in my
Now, it is August. My only hope is that, perhaps, if we’re
very lucky, the temperatures have plummeted into the 80s. Never did I think
I would write that sentence. Never did I think I would look at the outside
thermometer and say to myself, “Great! It’s only 87 degrees!” I have. I
would like to do it again.
Last night, I drove home from a jaunt at 8:45 p.m., and it
was 92 danged degrees outside. Cripes! What’s up with that?
There’s only one more bright side to the heat, that I can
think of: Laundry may be hung outside on the line with absolutely no fear
that it will get wet from the rain. In fact, much of it will dry in less
time than it would take to run it through the dryer. Whoopee. Trouble is, it
is too hot to even warrant trudging out to the clothesline with a basket
full of wet clothes. Nonetheless, I will do it. Today. Sometime. Maybe.
Last night, I watched the weather forecast and discovered
it is 15 degrees cooler in Florida than it is in Virginia. And Virginia is
15 degrees cooler than Baltimore. I love Baltimore, but I could not be paid
to go there right now. It would not matter if I had box seats to an Orioles
game, a backstage pass to a Jimmy Buffett concert, and a free-dinner coupon
to the world’s best crab house.
I do not have air conditioning. Heck; I live in the cool
mountains of Virginia. Why would I need air conditioning? Why, indeed.
Between the hours of 2 and 7:30 p.m., this place is a stifling hot box,
despite ceiling fans whirling dervishly in every room. I am seriously
considering turning my daily schedule upside down: Sleeping from 12:30 in
the afternoon until 7:30 at night. I am afraid, though, that it wouldn’t
make much difference.
A fellow in Boston has done something similar. He has a
window-cleaning service, cleverly called “Cliffhangers.” He goes to work at
3:45 a.m., and calls it a day at noon. Smart guy.
I have proclaimed time and again, “I hate summer!” Give me
that four feet of snow we had last winter. Give me those sub-zero
temperatures I may have, misguidedly, complained about in February. At
least, give me fall!
Although I am loathe to venture outside, I find myself
coming up with reasons to hop in the car and drive somewhere in the
most-blazing part of the afternoon. Why? Well, the car is air-conditioned.
Trouble is, Brownie and I have to step out of it eventually.
Poor little Brownie. She will examine her food dish
throughout the day — making sure it is still there, I guess. But, she
refuses to eat until 10 o’clock at night. Then, she snarfs it down and begs
for more. The rest of the day, she’s either sleeping, or sighing. Much like
My gourmet dinners are out the window until, perhaps,
October. A meal these days is either cereal, cottage cheese, fruit, canned
tuna, or ice cream. Yes, I often have an ice cream dinner. And I should not
forget that old standby, the peanut butter sandwich. I have reverted to
early childhood, as far as my eating habits go. I
refuse, however, to “go outside and play.”
I was sort of happy to read that the animals in the
National Zoo in D.C. are comfortable. They have access to air conditioning,
a spokeswoman noted. Well, aren’t they the lucky ones. According to her, the
zoo’s famed pandas “are not big fans of the heat.” I hear that! She adds,
“They prefer to stay indoors and sleep a lot.”
I never knew I had so much in common with pandas.