Okay, it's hot and tomorrow is supposed to be hotter. My friend Cam called, worried that I'm going to melt or faint or something. But ya know, I grew up without AC. And Brooklyn in August is damn hot. High 90s wasn't unusual. and we never lived on a ground floor. Believe it or not, somehow we survived before AC. Whenever I start thinking about how hot it is, I think of my grandmother's house or those years in kitchens where Summer made things only a bit warmer than always and immediately I feel cooler.
There are lots of ways to be a bit cooler when it's a scorcher. A cool wet towel around the neck and drinking icy lemon water do wonders. The luxury of being able to take a shower in the worst heat of the day (here that's around 3-4 p.m.) is lovely. An exhaust fan on low pulls the humidity out and if you've an opposing window in the shade it'll draw a lovely breeze through when set on high. On the nights when it cools I open all the windows and then close them in the morning. Shades stay down. The small investment I made in light-blocking and thermo-insulated drapes for the bedroom help too (each pair was $12 USD on Amazon). Any physical work gets done in the cool morning hours and as the temp rises I slow down to a snail's pace. The heat does make my legs and feet swell to balloons. Which inevitably leads to a lying down with legs up and a good read. Fortunately there's no want of books right now.
Having finished Eric Clapton's autobiography and Beard's Latin for All Occasions I moved on to GRR Martin's latest ASOI&F installment, A Dance with Dragons. Martin's books are like cheesecake. Yummy and dense, but they aren't books I can take in in one sitting. He writes them in viewpoint chapters, and there are so many characters that it's easy to get lost in what is going on and even lost in general. This volume is running in tandem with the preceding book, too, and on starting it I thought I'd had a stroke or something because parts of the story had advanced in the prior book and here we were back in time. Half a dozen chapters in it's still a wondrous story but so far, not the best of them.
Then Strider sent me two books as a surprise. Atwood's The Tent, which is another fantastic collection of shorts. I duno about you, but to me, Atwood's writing is like a favorite pair of socks. You don't always need them, but there are times when nothing else will do. I've already read the collection through twice. And they bring interesting dreams if you read them before sleep. The second is Irving's Til I Find You. When reading Irving I need to give him my full attention. I tend to fall into his books for the duration, the same goes for Tom Robbins and Audrey Niffenegger. So he'll wait til after ADwD is done. Meanwhile, to supplement my Summer afternoons, I have a pile of incidental reads, like Harnessing Your Dark Side and a couple of unearthed Led Zep bios that I don't recall ever reading. My niece also sent me many books that are waiting in my computer... when it's not so painy I'll be able to sit and read all those too. Somehow I've been indulged with books and I'm not complaining!
It's 1:30 p now and it's getting "close" in here. The Beest has lain down on the desk shelf in front of the exhaust fan, heavy eyes glancing up through the spinning blades now and then. The Shire's maintenance crew is cutting the lawns, but why bother- it's all brown and hasn't grown at all. The tomato plants are hanging on but even the hostas are wilting and the marigolds have burned in the sun. There may be rain tomorrow night. We're all hoping. I worry that the crops are going to fail, making farmers even poorer and our food prices go skyhigh. As Diana Hamilton says, "We'll just wait and see what happens."