May 20, 2017 (Saturday)

by Yule Heibel on May 19, 2018

This morning we slept till 8:30 and it was glorious. Two things combined to waking up better: one, not having to get up at an hour which fundamentally disagrees with us who are not early birds; two, a thirty degree (or more, actually) drop in temperature.

Yesterday, Friday, was much hotter (again) than was promised on the eve of the day before, Thursday (which itself had been the second day of 90++ºF temperatures). It was said then that we’d drop “down” to 85ºF at most, but what we got was 92ºF. And it was an even – if not a cool – 100ºF on my deck. In other words, uncomfortably hot, at least from my weather-fragile perspective.

I kept myself in suspended animation – i.e., cooped up indoors, with the AC on – for the entire day, which in turn put me in a really bad funk – if, that is, I poked my finger in it and scratched around. Otherwise, I frankly felt nothing all day (nor did I achieve anything, get anything mental done), and I’m not sure what upset me more: the panic if I peeked in on it, or the dull absence of any kind of emotion if I chose to just lie there and read. But I couldn’t read books. I just rambled through articles, and I played Churchill Solitaire when even that got too much.

I also exercised. And I vacuumed and cleaned glass lamp shades and kitchen cabinet doors. I told myself that vacuuming, like yard work, was a good substitute for what I couldn’t do, namely walking, walking, walking. Of course that’s baloney. Walking feeds the brain and replenishes it. House- or yard work doesn’t have that effect at all, despite the vaunted “I had my ‘Eureka!’ moment while scrubbing the floor!,” with “Eureka!” being something about how to solve a plot dilemma in a novel you’re writing. Sure, it happens, but it’s more likely your “Eureka!” moment will say, “Fuck this shit, I’m outta here.” Amirite? Anyway, it gets worse.

So, as I knew the temperature would go down quite low during the night, I kept the downstairs windows closed. It’s not supposed to get hot today, and I didn’t want to cool the house down too much, especially since all the coming days in the week ahead look cool and rainy. But it’s very sunny still today, and when I opened the windows a bit before sitting down here this morning, this awesome stream of cold air flew into the room. …And I thought, “Ah. Victoria.” This is what great summer weather always feels like, typically for weeks if not months on end in Victoria. Dry – never muggy or rainy in summer – but with cool breezes coming off the Olympic Mountains to the south. Sunny, brilliant light, and dry heat modulated by clean mountain air transported over an ocean strait. Oh my gods. My heart just… I don’t know. Broke? No. Responded? Yes, maybe that’s it. I felt this another time, decades ago, and it was in Maine. Up the coast, Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, that area: clear, crystalline sunshine, dry heat (not as “Mediterranean” as Victoria’s, though, which truly is Mediterranean in summer, weirdly enough), and a cool ocean breeze. Corollary: how I hate the oppressively muggy heat we get around here.

I read these books about “placemaking” or renovating or topics like that, which preach embracing where you are, but… I just can’t. I try, and I keep getting turned around, and around and around, till I’m dizzy. And more confused than before.

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