Standing It

Oh please, baby, please, baby! Bring it ON!


Unless you hear otherwise, assume I will be out on my deck tonight dancing, making offerings, and otherwise petitioning the spirits in order to boost the odds that we actually get some of this promised precipitation.

Because this last week, we been hot, ya’ll. Central Texas might as well have been the surface of the sun. 107° — that was the actual temp, not the heat index, on Thursday. The NWS issued a warning that I don’t remember having seen before, a Lack of Precipitation Alert, which basically said, “Don’t eventhink about it raining, because it ain’t gonna happen. Possibly not ever.”

Had I known, six weeks ago, that we were going to get this kind of heat so early, I probably wouldn’t have decided to stop using my air conditioner for the summer. But I did, and I’ve stuck with it, even last week.

Most of you have likely just joined the ranks of everyone else I’ve shared this with and you now think that I’ve lost my motherf*cking mind, but I haven’t. Quite the opposite, even. I feel that cutting down on my energy consumption during peak usage season makes all kinds of sense. Obviously this isn’t for everybody, some folks really do NEED air conditioning. I had heat exhaustion once, years ago in New York (ironically far less hot than Texas and I was younger and in better shape). Trust me, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

There’s just so many instances, though, when we believe without question that we absolutely have to have some thing(s) to survive. It’s been my experience that when I feel that way, I’m usually wrong about it. Sure I might have gotten habituated to something, more comfortable with something than without, but more often than not, those things aren’t really essential. In contrast, I often find I am going without things that I should have in order to thrive, not just survive. Embarrassing as it is to admit, since I’m almost older than dirt, I still struggle with some of the more basic self care issues that many adults of my acquaintance seem to have mastered. Though, one of the upsides to having my life disrupted by my breakup a few years back was that I couldn’t keep doing a lot of the stupid shit I was doing before because no one was going to fix it but me.

Which brings me back to the AC withdrawal. A few months ago, I quit my second job because even though the extra money was nice, the lack of down time was driving me more than a little nuts. Glad I did it but it left me with a bit of a hole in the budget and I had to figure out how I was going to get around that. My two biggest bills each month, especially in the summer, are electricity and water. That’s not true for many folks, I know, but it’s due in part because I live in a somewhat remote location and also because my utility companies are soulless, thieving heaps of shit.

So that’s when I turned the thermostat off and opened the windows. Luckily I’ve got ceiling fans in every room, the house is well-insulated, and there’s a nice cross breeze. I’m not saying the worst hot days are a walk in the park but it’s been way less disruptive and uncomfortable than I thought and I’m saving buckets of cash. The lack of refrigerated air is costing me far less peace of mind than the lack of cash flow would have, and I love the feel of connection I get from being able to hear the sounds of life outside: locusts droning away the afternoon, hummingbirds zooming around the feeder, coyotes off in the distance at night, the call and response of owls right before the sun comes up.

But don’t think I won’t be enjoying that rain and cool breeze tonight.

Ann Miller’s tour de force routine fromKiss Me Kate. In 1957, for an appearance with Bob Hope in Morocco, Miller performed this number for 5,000 troops … in 120° heat.

16 thoughts on “Standing It

  1. Dude! I’m in southeast Missouri and proud of myself just for keeping the AC thermostat set at 80°. Now I feel like a big wuss. I wish we, as a whole country, could just turn of the electricity for a week to show the utilities that we still have a small bit of consumer power.

  2. Good for you! I’ve lived without air conditioning my entire life (all 63 years). Didn’t need it in Wisconsin, but have lived in Arkansas for the past 25 years without it. And you’re right, it really keeps you connected to what’s real…the birds, bugs, and critters.
    When it gets really hot, I just go to the river, throw myself in, and stay in the wet cutoffs and tee shirt for the rest of the evening. Sometimes the caves around here are good places to hang out on a hot afternoon.

  3. I’m all about a storm right about now – bring it!!! 🙂 My a/c is mostly at 80 since I’m gone all day. And when I’m home, I may drop it to 75, but I try to see how long I can leave it at 80.
    Cheer VTex – send some of those storms to Hou if you get a chance… 🙂

  4. Yeah, Tex–
    I can relate, from all they way up here in West Tennessee. This heat and no rain is getting tiresome, and really destructive. My lovely garden beds are holding up, but only due to timed waterings throughout the day.
    Summertime in the South is just oppressive. I’d rather suffer through a Michigan winter… I can layer up for cold, but once I’m down to just a pair of shorts, well… there’s nothing one can remove without alarming the fundie neighbors.
    I’ll bang the drum, and dance for both of us, if it will just bring some rain already.

  5. I didn’t truly believe the “dry heat” thing until I experienced it. I was more comfortable in 104 and dry than in 89 and damp. The humidity makes me want to claw my own skin off just to get cool.
    When I look at Chicago weather objectively, it makes no sense for human beings to occupy this wretched place.

  6. monkeyfister,
    do you capture rainfall? I’ve got 250 gallons of rainbarrels outside and it’s amazing how much water I have even during this drought. It’s not treated so I just use it on the plants and yard but at least I don’t have to pay for it and I can water even during drought season.
    Next step is rigging up something to catch my household gray water.
    Hoping to, sometime in the next couple years, finance a large rainwater capture system for potable water but that’s going to entail some major expenditures.

  7. hot? come up to milw. didn’t hit 70. very odd year.
    but when it is hot, i recommend getting wet. hair or shirt.
    if only you guys had basements

  8. The upshot of high humidity – less wrinkly skin. But then I try to stay out of the sunlight – heck my neighbors in the complex call me “Vamp girl”…I just smile when they do that. 🙂

  9. Or come to New York if you want rain. Here in the NYC metro area, we just had the rainiest June on record. We feel as if we’re starting to grow mold.

  10. I am certain you are already doing this, but pulling the drapes or shades on the sunny side(s) of the house at the appropriate times makes a HUGE difference.

  11. I’m with you, A, Chicago weather is miserable. Give me New Mexico desert heat any time… must be some reason I keep vacationing there.

  12. I’m with Nora and BlakNo1: If you want rain, Southwestern Ontario is a great place to be right now. It’s rained for a week straight, and we already had had a ton of rain. My plants are shrivelling up and dying from lack of sunlight. It’s bloody cold here, for early July (8C below normal at least), and the only ones who are happy about it are people who hate the heat and the fish in the river.
    Tell you what — you send me some of your 107F heat, and I’ll send you some rain. I can tolerate 41C heat (most people can’t, but I can) and my plants will thank you. 🙂

  13. Interro, you got it.
    Putting the heat in a giant cardboard box for ya!

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