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Cruel Summer

I don’t do well in hot weather. It’s not just the humidity – thanks to thousands of years of pasty-skinned hobbity ancestors breeding in the cool shadows of snow-capped mountains, I’m simply not genetically equipped to handle hot climates. Which is why I won’t be retiring in Florida. It’s also why I’m approaching today as sort of a battle which I intend to live through but not completely win. I’m a very cranky Cylon, and I have a plan.

Now (mid-80′s): all windows are open, and all fans are on at full-blast. This is the only time of the day in which I’ll get any kind of tolerable breeze, so I’m taking advantage of it. I’m in the ant’s office (hey, it stopped being my room years ago), and from now to about 10am, I’ll be able to write. I’m also going to be making as many ice cubes as possible, because I’ll be drinking water pretty much all day.

10-11am (low 90′s): switch over from Ant Office to bedroom. The AC is in the bedroom, so I’ll drag my office chair in there, and I have a small laptop table that’s set up and ready to go. I will try to keep writing, but will start to mentally short out, and at some point will switch over to reading, or probably watching a movie.

11-12pm (mid-90′s): this is when I close all the windows in my apartment. At this point, it’ll probably be around 92 inside the apartment (the AC basically only cools off the bedroom), and I want to keep it at that level for as long as I can. Lunch will be eating in front of the refrigerator, with the door open as I shove a few things into my mouth before scurrying back into the bedroom.

12-9pm (Furnace time!): it’ll get up to around 98-99 today, with a heat index of around 108, so that means the apartment will probably heat up to around 95. I won’t be able to work. I’ll probably shut off my computer and spend much of this time sleeping, punctuated by reading and quick trips to the fridge for more water and ice. I could go outside and try to find a coffee shop, but so will everyone else in the area, and I don’t need the hassle and stress of fighting over a table at Starbucks. Also, in the five minutes it takes me to go from my apartment to Starbucks, I will burn (despite wearing spf 70 sunscreen).

after 9pm: I’ll start to open the windows again, although I won’t see any kind of temperature drop until four or five the next morning. I’ll force myself to eat something, but I know I won’t be that hungry. I’ll take a shower, maybe watch a few eps of Dexter, look over what I wrote in the morning, go online a bit. I might have one beer, depending on how I feel – alcohol wipes me out when it’s this hot. At some point, I’ll go back to sleep, but I’ll get up again probably around 11pm-12am, and be up for about 3-4 hours. My sleeping is extremely fragmented during the summer, so this is typical. It’s fine, though – it’s amazing how much you can get done in the middle of the night, when everything is so quiet.

Tomorrow will be better. Still horrible, but more normal. Quick morning trips to the grocery store, maybe a walk around the waterfront area in lieu of going to the gym, and then writing for most of the day. This is not the glamorous city life I imagined when I dreamed of moving to New York (is it ever, for anyone?), but for now and until I retire, it is what it is. But I don’t think it’s possible to fully articulate how very much I miss the mountains and the cold.

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Originally published at Livia Llewellyn.

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Marine Autumn

I owe you marine autumn
With dankness at its roots
and fog like a grape
and the graceful sun of the country;
and the silent space
in which sorrows lose themselves
and only the bright crown
of joy comes to the surface.

--Pablo Neruda.


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