Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mea Hot So Mea Culpa

I couldn’t take it anymore. It was 100°, more or less, on Saturday. We were out most of the day but it was unbearable upstairs when we returned. I knew my daughter wouldn’t be able to handle it. And I really, really wanted her to put her clothes away – in drawers and not draped over the banister, the teenage slumpy chair, her desk, the floor of her room.

And my elderly mom, who visits us every Sunday from the assisted living facility, would be over the top. She’s complained all summer. Was it safe to let her suffer so? Really, wasn’t there some biblical injunction to honor her with weather under 85°?

Last week, everyday by 3 o’clock I wanted to slam down the laptop and give up. Even driving around in the car with the air conditioning cranked up didn’t crank up my spirits.

I prayed for fall, or the Southern California equivalent. I fantasized about treating myself to some new jewel-toned cable knit sweaters in cranberry, hunter green and plum. Corduroy slacks, long sleeved Gap tee-shirts and black blazers to wrap myself in when the thermometer plunged to 50° were my pornographic fantasies.

So friends, I’m sorry. On Sunday, we turned the air conditioning on. All day. Down to somewhere in the low 70’s. I let my husband decide the number. He could take the wrap.

It was like manna from heaven. My skin was cool. My neck was dry. I was energized, not enervated. I’d suffered all summer, banking my brownie points for this one luxurious moment.

This week the mercury has dropped. The evil AC is off. But that 100° weekend was just a wakeup call. I know our monster heat waves will rear their oven-like heads several times more before Thanksgiving. I think we should name them after chili peppers and measure the heat factor in Scoville units like a jalapeño’s burn ability.

I carried my stainless steel water bottle with me everywhere this summer, filled with clanking ice cubes, clutched against my grateful face. I counted sweat drops. I suffered. Oh how I suffered.

But for one reverent moment the perspiration dried from the nape of my neck and I knew the blessed relief of the whirring fan.

Next Sunday the Ice Man cometh again and I will welcome him in. Green guilt be damned.

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