The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

June 25, 2003

Hot enough for ya?

Originally posted to Diary-X

I knew summer was going to sneak around the corner and smack us upside the head, I just knew it. We’d been having this lovely, suspiciously cool spring (highs in the mid-60s, maybe reaching 70 degrees). Last week I was wearing a light coat. Ha! Ha! A coat! Today it is 94. (Although it feels like 100, the weatherman informs us from his nicely air-conditioned TV studio. He’s wearing a suit, and not sweating.)

Gee, is it obvious how I feel about hot weather? It’s not my favorite thing. I can handle the mid-80s, but when it gets to turkey-broiling temperatures, I’m not pleased. This morning I started to perspire while brushing my hair. Yesterday, on the bus ride home from work, rivulets of sweat were running down the backs of my knees. Does that sound downright unpleasant, or what? I was not a happy camper. If it wasn’t for J.K. Rowling, I probably would’ve thrown myself out the bus window.

The pup doesn’t like the heat much, either (some African dog he is). He lies on the hardwood floor in our living room, tongue lolling, breathing short little panty breaths. When the spot he’s on gets too warm, he heaves himself up, paces around a bit, and flops down with a “thunk” on a new, cooler patch of floor. I admit, I really like the “I’m too hot to wreak much havoc in the apartment” side of Murphy. Perhaps we should leave the air conditioner off.

We have a window unit that came with the apartment. It’s in the living room. Our place is just small enough that this one air conditioner can cool it off to acceptable levels. However, using it even moderately ends up tripling our electric bill. Honestly, I don’t mind lying around the apartment in a tank top and boxers, feeling hot. It’s feeling hot when I’m out and about, going to work, etc., that bugs the crap out of me.

Last night John played in a softball game with some friends, so I planned a peaceful evening at home alone. I made turkey chili (I know, I know, probably not the most appropriate dish for a heatwave) and ate it while reading the newspaper. I ambled around the apartment picking things up. I petted Murphy; his only response was to roll his eyes up at me. Too hot to even lift a paw. I finally settled down on the couch with my Harry Potter book (which is quite a bitch to lug around, at almost 900 hardbacked pages). I’d been reading the book slowly, wanting to savor it, but I’m beginning to fear bumping into a spoiler somewhere, so I’m picking up the pace.

I read Harry for about an hour, and then at 9:00, the lights went out. Poof! One minute the lamps and CD player are on (may I recommend the vocal stylings of Lucinda Williams?); the next I’m sitting in half-darkness, the room illuminated only by the streetlights outside. Murphy raised his head, then flopped it down again.

Well, it was a good excuse to go for a jog. It wasn’t any cooler outside, but at least there was a breeze. People were trickling out of their dark apartment buildings to walk their dogs, talk on cellphones, and gather in knots, chatting. I said hi to a few people and went on my way, thinking the power’d be back when I returned half-hour later. Sirens streamed around the neighborhood—“Bet there’s a lot of people stuck in elevators,” one of my neighbors remarked cheerfully.

Our block was still black when I got back, drenched in sweat. I felt my way up the staircase and joined John, who’d gotten back from his game, and Murphy up on the roof, where the breeze was stronger and the lights from Wrigley provided quite a bit of light. A few of our neighbors were up there, too, wine and beer in hand, and we passed an amiable half-hour or so getting to know them better. I liked that part.

Luckily, the power was restored at midnight, so our fridge food is largely unspoiled and we didn’t have to spend the entire night fanless. This evening, I believe the air conditioner will be rumbling to life. If you’re anything like John, you probably don’t want to hear me bitch about the heat for the next two months.

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