The heat pummeled me as I stepped into the garage.
What is this? The Sahara? . . .
. . . I might actually have to get a gym membership if this keeps up.
I was headed out on my bike. It was 10:30 p.m. The current temperature was 90° F (32° C). I was miserable.
Northern California has been in the midst of a terrible heat wave for the past several days. With temperatures soaring well above 100 during the day, it hasn’t been cooling off at night, either. On Monday, a local fire and high clouds caused the heat to “stay put” in a fashion highly unusual for California: I’m used to chilly summer evenings—at home, anyway.
As I was riding my bike, at the top of a hill, sweat dripping into my eyes, suddenly, it hit me: I hated this. But . . . why? It’s not as though I haven’t experienced—and been okay with—hot summer nights before.
In Taiwan, where the humidity is a blanket year-round, I never had air-conditioning. During the summer, I looked forward to cold showers, and exercising outdoors was truly a chore. The same was true for Hong Kong, except that I did have air-conditioning, which, although it didn’t keep the paint from peeling off of the walls or mold from growing on the ceiling, definitely did make sleeping easier.
So, why then all this fuss?
And then I remembered . . .
4:15 a.m. Sanjhih, Taiwan, July 2011
The sky was getting light; the cicadas were an army of chimpanzees shrieking outside my window.
“Ughhh…” I buried my head beneath my pillow. “Shut up!”
I wanted to kill something.
If angels sing in heaven, cicadas sing in hell . . .
Ha! I had my next facebook status update.
. . .
“Crap.” I was wide awake, and there was no going back to sleep now. I might as well get up.
As I was putting on my running shoes, suddenly, from the road that ran up the hill past my apartment I heard:
Drums. And strange Chinese music—wailing and discordant, like nails on a chalkboard to the Western ear. Peering through my window, I could just see a little blue truck laden with flowers and golden statues through a patch in the trees.
The gods were going for a drive again.
And, suddenly, I couldn’t help but laugh. I shook my head.
Images: Google and mine