Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Summer Is Just Another Word for Torture

The heat is ruining my life. I may have said something similar when I was living in Arizona, but only because it was. And it is now. At least in Arizona we had central air conditioning. Right now we're keeping our house cool with electric window units and fans. It's very ineffective and very trashy. The house we bought was built in the forties and none of the previous owners had felt inspired to get central air. We're inspired to, but first there are other pressing matters, like the roof.

Anyway, the heat is killing me. Each day that brings me both high temperatures and high levels of humidity wipe me out. The only thing I can do is swear, curse Tennessee, long for Utah and sometimes cry in frustration. Not to give you the wrong idea, I don't really cry. We have this air conditioner the previous owners left us and it sucks. Something is broken about it, I'm not sure what, probably the temperature gauge because it fluctuates so drastically, one minute it's 54 degrees and the next it's 83. When it thinks it's 54 it turns off and I swear at it and cut the power to it and then restart it. Stoker thinks it doesn't help, but I know it does.

Another thing that's killing me is the hills of Tennessee. Oft cited as beautiful in song, these hills are a bane and a curse and I curse them. The extreme heat and humidity and the hills have put the brakes on exercise. Last year I could tolerate it because I ran by the river amidst the trees and that lowered the temperature a little. Plus I ran home to the central air conditioner. This summer I run home and never cool down and I want to die. And there's no river and very few trees and everything is a hill. Stoker thinks I overdo it, but I assure you I do not. If you came to my house and we took a run on a day at 92 degrees and 65% humidity, or even 40%, you'd melt with me. And it wouldn't resemble a romantic song. It would be like a house of wax. There would be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. And swearing at Tennessee.

Stoker says there are lots of hills in Utah, but there aren't. There are mountains. When there's a sort of hill, it looks like a hill and feels like a hill. In Tennessee, there's some kind of weird optical illusion going on and you can't tell it's a hill with teeth until you're running up it and dying in the extreme humidity and heat.

Long ago my pioneer ancestors tried to settle in Missouri and then Illinois, but things didn't work out. So they moved on and eventually set up camp in the Utah territory. It was hard for them and stuff, but after living in a humid climate and having been to some of the places that didn't work out for them, I thank my lucky stars things didn't workout in the Midwest. The desert is a superior climate. So maybe water was scarce and harder to come by and maybe it was grueling to drag those rocks out of the quarries to build with because there weren't a lot of trees, those things worked out, right? Once you live in a swamp, it's always a swamp and it breeds swamp creatures. The desert breeds hearty stock. Tall, lean, strong people. I can't decide for sure if this holds merit, it's just my perception, I'm sure.

I'm telling you, the heat is killing me. I'm very depressed right now. That's probably not super obvious because I'm being so hilarious at the moment. But I am. I'm wilting like a flower in a damn car out in the sun.

I tried to find scientific proof that extreme temperatures cause depression and other problems in people. I don't have time to rummage through all the studies, so I let the BBC do it for me. They came up with this article on the effects of extreme heat on moods. So I'm right, then. Thanks for playing. Now I'm going to go cry and melt in the pointless heat.

p.s. Recently I read this line from a short story by Chekhov ("He Understood"): "It was a stifling June morning; the air was sultry, the leaves drooped, the dry ground cracked." And I finally understood the power of that word sultry. Sultry only has power if you've been exposed to extreme humidity. I hadn't until Tennessee. Do I obsess? I do, I know I do.


jenny said...

all i have to say is, AMEN!!! i am in the depths of heat depression as well. i beg to challenge that atlanta is one step closer to heat hell than nashville. i sweat all day long, even though we have central air, it can't keep up with the sweltering temps. i try to go on walks with desmond early in the morning but can't even do that anymore because it is already five billion degrees and so humid you could ring out your clothes. so i am resigned to going to target, ikea, the mall or anywhere else i can just walk around with the little one where there is air conditioning. it is making me sweat just talking about it. i long for utah summers where it actually cools down at night and if you stand in the shade it is cooler. dry heat. who knew it was such a blessing.

Jodi said...

consider me proof. august is my toughest month. i long for autumn. all my worst major depressive episodes began in summer. i've turned into a lump who sleeps 10+ hours a day. and it hasn't even been that hot here.

and humidity is the WORST.

Hasenpfeffer said...

Nickle Grow da Pest...I sympathize with your sultry situation. I come this morning to respond to a post you left on my Magicbones blog. You said you didn't know if the concert choking story was real or not. I'm here to say that the story was and is 100% factual without any exaggeration whatsoever. Almost all of my posts are true (although the one about USU bingo was slightly exaggerated, but only slightly). My goal with that blog is to share the true and crazy things that happen to me. For some reason I am a magnet for nearly-unbelievable happenings and people have always told me that I should write about them because of the strange frequency with which they occur. Long live the Pierced Brosnan. PS--It's really fun to get your comments, I hope things are going well for you and Stokey besides (and beside) the heat.

JodieKash said...

Amen, sistah! Gives me the snow and a snuggly sweater.

BTW, the "dog days of summer" are a for real thing. Causes depression in folks with a hankerin' for the cool.

Aries327 said...

I didn't realize summer heat was such a hot topic. Haw haw. I'm glad to know others suffer just as much as me.

Jenny -- that's true about central air. When we had it, during the hot and humid days I would feel hot and humid even in our apartment. I would vacuum and sweat more and wonder what was wrong with me. I thought I was menopausal or something. The only thing is, my work somehow stays cool. It's a meat locker in here. I think they have an iceberg in the basement or something. That's the only plausible explanation. I long for Utah, too. I'm glad we long for Utah together. I would write to all Utahns and urge them to be happy that they're there. And then I would break into beautiful tune about the glories and wonders of Utah. "Ohhhhhh Utah! You are beautiful." It would be a boring song. Nevermind.

Jodi -- I've noticed that the middle of summer depresses me. First there's the initial thrill that spring is here. Then I get down because each spring means I'm older and there's no stopping time. Then I'm reconciled to aging. Then I'm ok for a bit. Then it gets really hot and ugly out and I start to get stir crazy because there's no place to go where I'm comfortable. Then fall comes and I'm happy for a minute because summer was a bitch and it's over and fall is beautiful. Then I get nostalgic for old times, and I get sad. And that lasts me all winter.
And then I worry I won't last another winter because they're SO depressing. Except Christmas. Thank heavens for Christmas. In short, it's a wonder the human race has survived.

Has -- thanks for verifying the truth of your post. Indeed you have had crazy things happen to you. I'm sure the telling is just as interesting as the crazy things, though (good writing and etc.). Things in Nashville are pretty good, when it's not humid and hot. Ha ha. But even then, we're doing well. I love reading your blog. Just be careful and don't get killed at the Twilight concert series. That would ruin the event for everyone. :)

Jodie K -- I'd forgotten about the "dog days of summer." It's SO true. I've got to move out west. I'm jealous of you Coloradoans. Is that what you're called?