I’ve been melting this week, in an unusually early bout of summer heat, and I keep thinking about a Twilight Zone episode called “The Midnight Sun” about a woman, played by Lois Nettleton. As the eppy starts out, Lois and her neighbors are dealing with the extreme heat of the Earth pulling closer to the sun. (Of course, in usual TZ fashion, that’s not how it ends, but that’s a spoiler for another day.)
But the sweaty, hopeless, languid feeling is very reminiscent of how we drag from room to room here. This old house, a centarian-plus, was built back in the day when they understood cross- ventilation, and so for the most part, we survive without air conditioning. Perhaps six days a summer, we’d really love it–but it hardly seems worth the expense for six days. We muddle by with multiple fans and strategic curtain and window closing, and try not to complain too much, because the winter is much worse.
I lived in South Florida for over 10 years, where it was monsoon season from the end of April till Halloween, hot and wet and windy. It rained sometime every day. But the rain cooled things off, just a little, and there was always a sea breeze. Besides, when you live south of the Mason-Dixon line, AC is a staple. It’s built-in most places. So residents spend their days rushing from one cool place to another.
More often these days, my mind rolls to a scene like that TZ, the post-apocalyptic. I’m not sure why, really; whether it’s because I’m getting older, or just coming to a much more cynical place in my life as I watch the state of world politics and economies. What if the world was moving toward the sun, and we lost our cushy place? What if The Other Side (pick your flavor) wiped out our electric and other utilities and we had to live by our wits? What if the zombieverse came to life, as envisioned by my fellow Firefox writer Melissa Wilson?
Or more realistically, what if we didn’t live here? We’re all pretty vocal about our entitlements in the gold old U.S. of A. Air conditioning is on the list. IPod, Blackberry, fax, cell phone, microwaves? Heck, yeah. Gimme more, faster, better.
Gas at $4 a gallon? No way! Even though in other countries they’ve been paying that for years. In yet other countries, the majority of the people can’t even get gas. They don’t have cars, much less delicious SUVs with all the trimmings. They have rice. Sometimes enough to feed the whole family for a week. Sometimes not.
My children are lucky enough to receive therapy this summer at a camp where they will have one on one therapy 30 hours per week, showing them how to better interact with neurotypical peers and learn to deal with their own issues. The medical card they have because of their condition will cover the cost of this therapy. Where else could this happen? What will we do after the apocalypse?
Like my friend says of her child with an eating disorder, in other circumstances, our children might not survive.
So while I stock up on canned goods and debate the necessity for personal weapons, I remind myself to bitch less about the heat and be grateful for the gifts we have.