Molly Fisk: Heat Wave

It seems like only two weeks ago we were complaining about excessive heat in March. It was in the low 90s then — we had no idea. Today the high is 107. It’s so hot you could fry a free-range, grass-fed, local chicken’s egg on the sidewalk. It’s so hot road crews are working at night. Pine trees are audibly panting. The local lake is bathtub temp, even at six in the morning. Pretty soon everyones’ car windows are going to melt and glass will run through the gutters. And this isn’t just the Sierra, it’s all over the west. It was so hot yesterday in Albuquerque that planes couldn’t lift off the runways.

Someone said: “This isn’t our weather, it’s India’s weather.” Someone else said: “not good weather for white people.” It was 96 in Alaska this week and there were wildfires in Quebec. Even if you don’t believe in global warming, you can’t deny there’s a whole lot of contiguous local warming going on.

Over here, five out of five cats don’t stir when I walk past. Our choreographed heat-wave routine goes like this: Around 7:30 a.m. I close up the house to hold cooler night air inside. I should draw the curtains, but can’t stand not being able to see out the windows. You might was well toss me into San Quentin. Sun beats down on the roof but indoors it’s cool until lunch-time. Then the cats rise from favorite spots on sofas and beds to flatten themselves on the cool kitchen floor tile. It looks like I’m holding a clearance sale on tiny grey and black throw rugs. This is the signal for me to turn on our new window air conditioner and the overhead fan. About half an hour later, the rug sale is over and everyone reconvenes on comfortable furniture for the rest of the afternoon.

Before the A/C unit, I usually opened the house at 5:30, when outdoor air temps had cooled to be equal to indoor temps and there was often a breeze. Now with A/C, I can keep the house closed longer if I need to, and yesterday the air temperature didn’t cool off much at all. I opened the house around 7:00 and then watched sweat from my brow hit the sink as I did the dishes.

The cats don’t swim, but every day I drive to a lake near our town and paddle around for an hour. In the early morning, this serves as exercise. At mid-afternoon, it’s a core-body cooling technique better than anything else I know. Just 10 or 12 strokes in, the grudges, resentments, and homicidal ideation I’ve built up during the day flow out of my brain. I roll over to attempt the back stroke and look for ospreys against a bright blue summer sky.

Even though I’m coping okay, I hope this will be over soon. The only good part of a heat wave is waving the darn thing goodbye…

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  • Nancy August 19, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    I love your writing, Molly Fisk. Heck, I love you. I think.

  • Mickey M. August 19, 2017 at 11:54 am

    The heat, that’s why, I tell myself and anyone else, why I moved to Tucson. I lived in the state of Washington for a winter, experienced snow; no, thank you, that’s why I moved to Tucson, where it rarely snows (except on Mt. Lemmon); lived in Alcala de Henares near Madrid, Spain; loved the heat; that’s why I moved to Tucson; closest I can go to get back to Spain without a passport. Thank you, Molly, for reminding me of cooling the core to release the homicidal ideations among other things. Hugs.

  • hillsmom August 19, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Ha! Not as bad here in SE PA, but the humidity has been awful. Luckily after a thunderous front went through last week, it was actually lovely for a few days. Keep the peace and hope to wave the heat goodbye soon. Cheers to your kitties from Gussie =^..^=