like a heat wave (like how it sounds in that song by martha and the vandellas)

August 17, 2012

Holy moly it’s hot. And I’m not complaining, because I have been craving a heat wave, which is maybe both selfish and thoughtless, considering the drought and extreme temps in big chunks of the rest of the country.

Does the weather out here make me  meteorologically privileged? If so it seems like a temporary state, given the relentless nature of Portland springs (which last at least 5 months) and the fact that I was wearing a wool sweater a little more than a month ago. During so much of the year, I dream of this kind of crazy summer heat weather. Day dream about it, to be more specific. I’ll be riding my bike wearing gloves and a rain jacket and a headband over my ears, and I’ll fantasize about the impossibility of riding my bike wearing just a t-shirt and shorts. Every year it seems unreal that it ever happened — that it was this hot, that I slept under only a thin sheet, that I put a fan in the window, that I watered my garden wearing my boxers, that I didn’t have to always carry rain gear and extra ear warmers in my pannier. And last year it kinda didn’t happen. It got warm, but there wasn’t an actual heat wave. I think the same is true of the summer before. But I get desperate for it.

I think I talk about the weather much more than I did when I lived in Indiana. I said something to a friend a couple weeks ago about being bummed when we were having all this overcast grey bullshit and he said “you do know we live in a rain forest.” I think he meant it as a be here now statement, and I am open to that reminder. But he’s also from Alaska and he will probably never long for midwest summer heat or small country roads or little clumps of trees or all the things I’ve gone on and on about over the last several years. Sometimes when I talk about the weather I am talking about something else deeper or more poignant but I don’t want to appear vulnerable or silly or expose whatever is going on the inside, so I go on about rain or cloudy skies or sunshine. I want to meet someone named Sunshine so I can say her name over and over and trick myself into feeling better when all it does it spit and rain.

I listened to Bill McKibben last night.  I was driving some where, which made me feel kinda jerkish given it was McKibben talking, and it was getting near dusk and it was really beautiful out and he was talking about the end of the world as we know it, more or less.. And part of me wanted to turn him off, not because I don’t believe him, but because I really wish it weren’t true, i.e. global warming and impending catastrophe; plus I have a strong ass streak of avoidance. Also, it was so beautiful out and thinking that this beauty won’t exist anymore was absolutely-please make it impossible-heartbreaking. It made me think that turning back global warming is like fighting human nature, not just because its hard to get people to change and big oil has more money than God and politics are corrupt and China and India are buying our coal and we’re always trying to figure out how to add more lanes to our highways and we fly every where and there’s whole herds of people chanting “drill, baby, drill.” Not just because of all that and all the other variations of things like that, that are causing the world to irreversibly heat up, but because global warming is pretty much like death and us humans aren’t so good at dealing with death. We have an intellectual understanding of it, at best, or at least that’s true for the vast majority of people, and even with an intellectual understanding, it’s still pretty abstract and something that happens in the future. Death, and the finality and changeableness of it, doesn’t seem to really sink in until we are actually dying or dead. Even as we are drowning it’s unbelievable that we will actually drown; so even as the globe warms up, it’s unreal that it will actually get fried. Sometimes I think the problem with common naysayers (common meaning folks who aren’t big oil or auto lobbyists or work for big oil or the auto industry or similar kinds of people) is that that they have a much deeper streak avoidance that I do and they are just super entrenched in the unreality that we can kill the planet.

All this to say I don’t know to love this heat wave and not feel sad about what all these hot temperatures mean.

1 Comment »

one response to “like a heat wave (like how it sounds in that song by martha and the vandellas)”

  1. Patricia Wildhack says:

    I hear you. Living in a drought has been a dreadful combatant to my avoidance of climate change. I have been watching matures trees parch and corn simply shrivel up. And yet… it has rained now for about a week and a half. I have noticed that my avoidance is back on board and it is simply a lovely day.

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