I’m guessing that comes as a surprise. I’m guessing it probably even sounds self-indulgent and more than a little decadent. I’m guessing the consensus out there in places like Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin and, dare I say, the entire country of Canada, is that those of us living in paradise are perpetually on vacation. So why the hell do I need to go on vacation? Well, at the great risk of condemnation and ridicule, I’m here to challenge the notion that life in paradise is always paradisiacal.
In eastern Canada, around mid-March, near the end of a particularly cold and stormy winter, everyone starts itching for spring and can be heard to say with varying degrees of whininess depending on the speaker’s disposition, “It’s been a long Winter. How much longer do you think before the snow melts.” And then the snow melts and there is excited anticipation and we start thinking the warmer days of Spring are right around the corner. The crocuses on the South side of the house are the first to bloom, while the green tips of daffodils begin to rise up through the dark wet earth in fuzzy patches dotting the yard. Tulips are felt, unseen deep below the surface of flower beds, to be bursting forth from their bulbs. Then, almost without fail, there’s one more big snowstorm in the first week of April. It usually falls on or right before my sister’s birthday, April 6th. Overnight the yard is transformed back to a place enshrouded in white where everything looks dead and the snowplow can be heard noisily running up and down the streets removing the unwanted gift from Mother Nature. Suddenly it seems as though Spring will never arrive and everyone shuts themselves up in their houses where I imagine they sit wrapped in woolly sweaters, grimacing while they sip big glasses of scotch in an attempt to dull the sensation of cold air seeping under the doorjam and the pain of the never-ending wait for relief.
There’s a similar phenomenon occurring in the Tropics. Despite the groans and grunts of disapproval I foresee emanating from your mouths, I’ve got to say it: It’s been a long summer.
I’ve been waiting for weather that resembles autumn to arrive for several weeks now. But it seems that, like those early signs of Spring, the early signs I wrote of produced premature declarations of the imminence of cooler weather here in Baja. Normally, autumn arrives by mid-October, providing relief from the energy-sapping, spirit-desiccating heat. But we’re brushing up against November and each and every day the mercury continues to top 90 (thankfully down from the daily high of 95 only a few days ago). The air still feels dry and hot like a furnace as it blows past the moisture-deprived skin of my arms and I sit here sweating in my chair. I have a hot ass. It’s been hot since June, without respite. It makes sitting here while I type uncomfortable to the point of being unbearable at times. I have to get up and walk around and let air flow over my overheated posterior. It makes it necessary to lay a towel over my office chair so it doesn’t become sticky with sweat. Altogether now, it’s “Gross!!”
We’re going on five months of incredibly hot weather. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Sure, the nights are cooler, more or less, and sea temperatures are slowly falling so that my evening swim is actually refreshing, but the daytime highs are still uncomfortably high and the sun is still stinking strong. I’m tired of having to coat my entire body with sunscreen and of staring into the bright sun while I surf. I’m pretty sure I’m doing irreparable damage to my eyes.
So I’m done with the heat.
I’m done trying to convince myself that this is good for me – that all this sweating is ridding me of toxins or that this is better than the 65 degree weather in Central California.
I’m looking forward to the cold. I want to shiver and relish the thought of wearing long pants and a big heavy sweater while I look west towards the Pacific Ocean without the sun frying my retinas. I want to feel the chill air on my face, air so cold it makes my eyes water. I want to experience surfing in a full wetsuit for the first time in my life (not so much the crowds). I want to tuck into bed at night under thick downy comforters and rise to walk on chilled floors. I want to sip hot tea in the morning to warm myself gently from the inside out, instead of it making the sweat pour down my neck and face to gather in my cleavage, gradually soaking my sports bra. In the evenings I want to sip scotch on the rocks and feel the heat of the alcohol warm the cockles of my soul all the way down to my icy toes.
Clearly, while I do look forward to the change, it’s not that I like the thought of being cold so much as the remedies for it: grasping a mug of steamy hot chocolate with chilled hands, wrapping myself in feather-down comforters, cashmere sweaters, ridiculous looking woolen caps and brightly colored mittens, sipping good California red wine or scotch (take your pick) before a crackling fire in the hearth. Oh and did I mention snuggling? Snuggling is definitely the best thing about cold weather. Hey, a girl’s gotta dream.