Friday, July 9, 2010

"It's not the heat, it's the humility" -- Yogi Berra

I've read Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude twice. The first time was while traveling in Spain the summer after I graduated from college. The second time was a year later, during the rainy season while living in Puerto Rico. I understood it better in PR, because the idea that it could be so steamy-hot that one could accidentally sleep for twenty years was suddenly feasible. I can remember a summer weekend that year when my ceiling fan broke and I slept until I was so sweaty I woke up, took a cool shower, and then slept again. Sweat, rinse, sleep, repeat.

Last night after supper Eldest and I went out to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought three expensive fans. Our house is not air conditioned, and yesterday Snuggler informed me that she'd unplugged the 30-year old whole-house fan because "Sometimes it gives off sparks." Good call, kid. I put one of the new fans in her room as a thank-you.

After stagnating in the heat for several nights we all slept better last night with circulating air. Hot weather is one area where I can keep perspective: by my tally there are about ten days a year in this part of the U.S. when air conditioning is a necessity. Thus far I'd say we've suffered through half that many. Suffered is the operative word; lack of sleep, lack of comfort, lack of coherent thought is, indeed, suffering. I sometimes wonder how people who live in chronically unpleasant environments survive each other. One theorizes that they get inured to the unbearable, though perhaps some sink into lethargy or foment unnecessary wars or simply ferment in the sun.

I am grateful for my new air-moving fans. They make life easier, and Lord knows I could use life to be a bit easier right now. In a sense, though, I consider my new fans as proof of my wimpiness. In certain ways I'm soft... coddled... accustomed to comfort. My idea of physical suffering isn't even on the yardstick of most of the third world. That realization doesn't make it any easier for me to deal with where I am. But it does help me to have perspective on how much stronger I could be.


  1. Well, one issue is how suddenly it got hot, leaving our bodies no time to adapt. When we're acclimated to hot weather, we sweat out less salt, making it easier to hydrate without upsetting the body's electrolyte balance. So if it had been in the 90s for a couple of weeks and then gone into triple digits, it would have been easier on our bodies. So ... you don't have to consider yourself a wimp. How's that?

  2. And I thought I was being non-wimpy by waiting until late in the day to turn on our living room window unit! You put me to shame.....