Various Complaints and Excuses

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 In the L.A. Basin, it’s more like the walls of the world have been replaced by 1950’s vinyl upholstery; that glittery stuff that had an inexplicable depth to it, and stuck to the backs of your legs when you sat on it.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 …

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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8 Responses to Various Complaints and Excuses

  1. Turns out, the real virtue to having a job in a modern office building is central air that most people think is a touch too cold and I think is just right. I am actually enjoying going out to work. If I had to try to work at home, I know I’d get nothing done. I, too, glow like I was being paid for it. Saturday night, at the Serenata CD release party–it was outdoors–it was so humid, if Monrovia had had a black out, helicopters could have homed in on my the sheen on my face and arms..


  2. Kate says:

    Awful, ain’t it? I figure I must look like Hellboy in IR vision. If the humidity would either go away, or give in and rain … I’d be all right. I actually kind of miss office work, thinking about industrical air conditioning. Ah, well, we always want what we don’t have! I can hardly wait to head to Seattle. Not that it’s cold this time of year, but it’s cooler than LA and has a sea breeze!


  3. Steven Gillan says:

    I have not been such a wreck in the face of heat in my lifetime. We loved in a hotel for three nights so that mrs S. could sleep in preparation for a “wedding of the century” at the Huntington this week. I have put on pants, and only under protest and if There was a chance I was going out to air conditioning. I killed a fan today. I spoke to Lonnie yesterday, he reports monsoonal rain for nearly 2 hours. you know the kind, poured from a boot. 1.4 inches an hour. This was complete with lightning so close that their chain link sparkled for a while following the strike. It ain’t Viet Nam, but close enough to foster dreams and trouble sleep.


  4. kskjold says:

    Is grabbing the buke and running off to a (presumably) air-conditioned library an option?

    I have AC with my office job, but considering that I work upstairs in a 19th century barn and the AC system is probably circa 1975, it means that I’m working in low-mid 80s rather than high 90s. And going downstairs, well – the walled courtyard is brick and the buildings surrounding it are white. We could open a sideline in artisan-baked bread!

    My considerable empathies! May it cool down and dry out SOONEST.


  5. Anthea Rutherford says:

    I hope we’ll have better weather for you when you come to Seattle — it’s been bloody hot here as well, albeit without the humidity issues. Of course, it rained every day well into June, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain — but I *do* complain; one of the reasons I’ve been moving inexorably (if oh-so-gradually) north is to escape heat. I suffered through too many triple-digit summers in the southern San Joaquin in a constant state of nausea and headache; LA was marginally better, but my tolerance has been slipping, slipping, slipping away over the intervening years.


  6. Elaine says:

    Heat and headaches seem to be a theme today. It was at least 108 F here in Fresno today (although, blessedly, the humidity was in the mid-teens when I looked this afternoon). I went out to the library about noon, stayed about four hours (it was too warm there, but I had some research to do and was actually able to go and do it), and then came right back home…with a headache that is still with me, although much diminished from when I spent about half an hour late this afternoon with a pillow over my eyes, because any light at all was painful (which has been a main feature of headaches since I was about ten years old).

    I’ll be so glad when the cooler weather comes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really happen until about October sometime around here. Oh, the frequency of 100-degree + heat starts dropping about the middle of September, but it usually never really cools out of the 80s as highs until sometime in October. Which wouldn’t be bad if the hot wether didn’t begin in May, as it does around here. The joke around here is that Fresno has six months of summer and six months of winter, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a couple weeks of spring and a couple weeks of autumn.


  7. Luisa Puig Duchaineau says:

    The monsoonal (sp?) moisture must have traveled North in the night. I’m having coffee with an amazing, very tropical-like, sunrise. Humph: should at least be Kona coffee, huh?


  8. Luisa Puig Duchaineau says:

    Hope it is now cooler and drier where you are, Kathleen. I’ve taken to putting moist dish towels in the refrigerator, and then laying down with a fresh one on my face. Works wonders.


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