Summer comes to Los Angeles...Flaming Hot Cheetos in a flannel-lined sandwich. Likely it will have turned us loose by the middle of the week, but in the meantime we sizzle and drip. And the forecasters are calling it dangerous, because of the temperatures and the humidity, so I am not the only one wailing.
Weeks of the euphemistic June Gloom that changed its reservations and stayed well into July left those of us not heat crazed and leathery to rejoice. Maybe summer won't arrive; that was the hope. I become dull witted in heat, I become lumbering and queasy. My people migrated from wintry lands, our blood goes thick and sluggish in temperatures above 82 degrees.
Overcast mornings and afternoon sun mitigated by moving air would define a bearable summer. I am a weakling, a lightweight in my failure to adapt to the county of my birth, home for most of my life. One summer lived in Washington, D.C. and a July vacation in North Carolina give me standards for discomfort that Los Angeles has never experienced.
In D.C. I was sure mold grew on us as we slept. I didn't even know anyone other than an uncle and aunt who had air conditioning. Our hair never dried. As I waited for the bus on the second leg of my journey after work, cloudbursts left us steaming by the time transportation arrived. We fogged the windows, then tried to breathe our way around the locker room atmosphere and squelchy bodies.
My sister and I share the summer aversion. She is in Virginia which differs from D.C. or Raleigh in no appreciable way. We eye the calendar and the trees for signs that fall is near. We do the dance of joy when, one morning, the air finally carries the snap that releases us.
Call this my seasonal lament. Call it observation. My life gives me no cause for complaint; how ungrateful and narrow that would be. I think of conditions under which I might be toiling and know this temporary discomfort would be bliss for millions, multiple millions.
Even as a child I sometimes felt ill from the heat. We sought respite in movie theaters, the library and a series of wading pools that were our vacation joy...again, not deprivation. Yet as years pass, it takes me longer to acclimate myself to change, the shift from mild to hot slows me and leaves me confused, unfocused. I am less agile and mobile than I was, resulting in fewer choices for escape.
I remind myself that if this is my greatest concern, my existence is one of ease and comfort. It is charmed. If only I hadn't become so spoiled by that vanished marine layer to which I write beseeching fan letters. Like one really homesick session at camp, all my credit at the store going for postcards and a pen as I begged for rescue, I have flimsy inclinations under even slightly adverse conditions. It is not a pretty thing, but at least I admit it.