Wednesday, July 3, 2002

Hot Child in the City

It's a sweltering July night in La Casa del Terror, and every fan I own is going--one ceiling fan in the kitchen; another in the living room; a box fan in the window above the futon I (try to) sleep on; and another moved to "the office" (a.k.a., "the place where I dump shit when company comes a-callin'") specifically so that I could write this update without turning into a puddle in my desk chair. (And considering that said desk chair has decided that it doesn't want its springs to cushion my overly ample backside anymore and would rather have said springs fly out in all directions from beneath the chair, rendering them a hazard to uncovered flesh, the chair has more than enough problems already.)

I'm stripped down to my burgundy boxers as I write this, and I wouldn't even be wearing those if not for the possibility, however remote, that one of my neighbors in the apartment building across the street might strain to look through the locust trees, catch a glimpse of a Fully Monty me and call the proper authorities (most likely the EPA). I'm dabbing the sweat Niagaraing my forehead with a dishtowel, and my hair has gone Greg Brady on me and will not be tamed by anything short of a chainsaw.

The Girlish Girls have, very sensibly, made themselves scarce: Lottie is sprawled on the relatively cool bathroom tile floor (I'm considering joining her there), and Ms. Christopher has crawled beneath one of the living room couches, probably to commune with the leftover Christmas cards and dust bunnies the size of boulders under there. They know enough not to cling to me in this heat, unlike Sars's demented felines, who either are too dim to realize that cuddling and flopping about on their owner could bring about her demise, or they're actively attempting to assassinate Ms. Bunting and therefore are diabolically clever.

That I feel like I should be served up with butter sauce and a wedge of lemon is, when you get down to it, my own damn fault. I didn't have to move out of Mom's house, which normally has substantial air conditioning going in the summer--a fact she reminds me of regularly, when she's not expressing the wish that I "find someone" because she wants me "to be happy" or urging me to be "less nice" to women so that "they'll like you more." (She means well. Really.) I could also spring for my own AC unit, but I doubt that the ancient wiring of my apartment could stand the strain. Hell, I can't run the coffee maker and the microwave at the same time without blowing the circuit, so I could just imagine the cloth-encrusted copper wires just laughing till they spew at the thought of something that energy-draining being hooked up to them for even a few seconds, much less for days on end. Other tenants in my building have AC units hooked up, though, so maybe it's not a hopeless cause. Maybe I should pry the wallet open, slouch down to the nearest Circuit City and do what must be done.

For the moment, though, I fight the heat however I can. The fans turn furiously. The dishtowel soaks up another torrent from my forehead. The ice in the green tumbler resting on the Tiki coaster on my SuperDisk drive shrink with every passing minute like friendly faces receding into darkness as the car pulls out of the drive (where the car is going, I have no idea--it's just a fucked-up metaphor). And once I finish typing this page, maybe I'll pull on some pants, refill the tumbler with some fresh ice and filtered water (which I drink because the water that comes out of my faucets is usually tinted orange or brown), and head out onto the back porch for a few minutes.

Maybe I'll smoke a cig from the pack of Camel Ultra Lights I've been working through slowly but surely for the last month, if only so that the searing of my lungs will make me momentarily forget all that brings discomfort to body and mind. Maybe I'll look for a star peeking through the haze hanging over the city. And, if I find one, maybe I'll make a wish on it.

More likely, though, I'll just give up entirely: kill the lights and the ceiling fans, toss the burgundy boxers into the pile of undone laundry beside the desk, drag the office fan back out into the living room, flop down on the futon, spritz myself with the water bottle once used to keep the Girls from clawing the furniture, and sacrifice myself on the alter of air, hoping that sleep will come quickly and without dreams, but knowing full well that such is unlikely.

Not in Chicago in July.

Not in La Casa del Terror.

Not this night.