Kage Baker was a salamander. She loved heat and prospered in it. She almost never sweat – a ladylike “glow”, as elder female relatives put it, might accompany a faint blush to her face when the temperature soared … but she didn’t sweat.
“Horses sweat, gentlemen perspire and ladies glow,” we learned in our childhood. Kage took it to heart, aided by the fact that she never seemed to feel any heat until the ambient atmospheric temperature exceeded her own.
Me, I glow like a horse. And at any temperature over 80 degrees. I loathe sweating, and it has always been one of my personal metabolic strengths. Life is ironic like that.
When I was young and strong, I just slunk around with my hair pinned up on top of my head, looking like a bad pre-PC cartoon cannibal with a topknot: rather as if my brains had boiled over, according to Kage. She could coil her braid into some weird non-Euclidian knot and stab a pencil through it, and voila! She just looked charmingly en deshabille, at least until her hair ate the pencil or Harry yanked it out and ran off with it … but I always look like a badly mutated cockatoo.
Now that I am old and tired, the heat has leaped my closest barricades and attacked relentlessly. The moat is full of barbecue, the heat demons are dancing in the inner bailey, and I am holed up at the top of the last tower – you know, the one with no door at ground level, where you can only get in through that dog-door in the third confessional booth down in the chapel. All I can do is hope to hold out until some approaching air pressure change rescues me.
It’s gone past just being hot. I’m flirting with heat sickness, adding nausea and headaches to the general malaise of being too freaking hot. It has to be due to the unrelenting nature of the weather – it hasn’t gotten below 70 in days and days, not even in the middle of the night; the house never cools down and neither do we inhabitants.
And due to the aberrant “monsoonal moisture” that has developed this year, the humidity has been 40 to 50%, also for day and days. In the mountains, in Orange County, down near Riverside – they’re getting thunderstorms and hail and yestreday an actual, brief tornado! But at least it sort of rains. In the L.A. Basin, it’s more like the walls of the world have been replaced by 1950’s vinyl upholstery; that glittery stuff that had an inexplicable depth to it, and stuck to the backs of your legs when you sat on it.
I miss the dry heat. This wet stuff is not compatible with my personal phenotype. I could handle triple digit heat if it just weren’t so damp!
Being responsible citizens, we don’t use the air conditioning during peak power usage hours. The fans are helping, but … The drawback to going to the movies is that you have to come out, sooner or later. And after more than a week of this, I am a sad, self-pitying sponge of misery. I cannot work enough to keep my mood up; I fall asleep, exhausted by the heat, and wake up nauseated. Oh, poor me!
Be patient a little, friends and Dear Readers. The weather will improve and I’ll be in a better mood soon. Last week of August, I am fleeing to Seattle to visit Linn the agent and some friends and family. I’ll be much better then. And in the meantime, I am slowly digging my way out of the Slough of Despond that I’ve unexpectedly tripped into.
One thing I’ve learned is that the Progress of Mourning is not the neat, straight line they show you on motivational posters. It’s more like a bowl of worms, or the Gordian Knot. And you know how Alexander solved that one … it’s just taking me longer, see, because I have to use this sharpened spoon instead of a sword …