The last few mornings have started out the same way this week. I wake up on an inflatable mattress in my living room, I look over at the clock and I see that it is barely 9am. Then I roll over on my back and I look up at God and I wonder “at what time in the next few minutes will I start to uncharacteristically sweat today?”
Now I know what you must be thinking. Why Christian, would you be sleeping on a $35 Coleman blow up mattress when you have a perfectly comfortable six hundred dollar Sealy posture pedic queen size bed in your bedroom to sleep on? The answer is simple. There is no air conditioning in my bedroom, and we’re in the middle of a horrendous heat wave in L.A. and there is nothing I can do to change it.
Literally, there is nothing I can do other than set the A/C to 72 during the day, and 76 at night. Now, I know 76 degrees seems pretty comfortable, but when it’s 8:53 in the morning and I’ve made coffee and taken out the trash, and I’ve already started to prematurely drip of perspiration during those short 16 steps to the garbage chute, I’m turning the air conditioner on because it’s only going to get hotter today if it’s almost 80 degrees by 9am.
Time check: 9:13 am, 81 degrees Fahenheit. Yuck.
I figure I’ll head to the grocery store to stock up on some cooling products like watermelon and Gatorade because I know I’m going to need to hydrate and keep myself liqui-fied if I’m going to make it through this awful, awful day.
Now, I’m sure there are some of you who would kill to live in California and perhaps my complaining is falling on deaf ears. I get it. It’s normally really nice here almost every day, but these past few weeks have be excruciatingly difficult to endure. Lets not forget, this part of SoCal is pretty much a desert, followed by 20-25 miles of a tropical oasis called Los Angeles. Then the ocean.
End of Oasis.
So now, my whole schedule has to change just because of the fact that it might reach 100 degrees in “paradise” today.
I can’t walk to the gym because by the time I get there I’m too hot and tired to work out. If I do attempt to push myself during my elliptical training, then I’m faced with the daunting task of walking the mile back home in hotter temperatures than when I started. I don’t sleep very well in this weather, so I’m irritable, tired, and I feel like someone is slowly drying me out from the inside with one of those shammies you use on your car after you wash it. This weather is just sucking all the life-water out of my body.
So I make what I think is a great decision to head to Ralph’s for some liquid contraband, followed by what turns out to be a terrible decision, which is deciding to walk there.
It’s hot. With each step I feel my the muscles in my legs losing irrigation and I wonder if I’ll even make it to the grocery store without shriveling up and dying on the way there. With the sun beating down on my head and my body, I can’t even appreciate the fact that I might be getting a little tan on this walk to the store because I start to realize that the UV rays are so strong today that they may just bypass my epidermis and head straight for my blood stream, boiling it and me over onto Hollywood boulevard.
I see the Ralph’s a couple blocks ahead, and by some grace of God I make it there only to realize this trip is going to cost me an additional ten cents because I didn’t bring my eco-friendly reusable shopping bag. Oh well I think, that dime I found last night on the floor of my apartment will make up for this.
I walk into the store and I am greeted by a waft of cool air to my face, and the sounds of commerce in background soundtracked perfectly by the self checkout lane. I head to the produce section and pick up a personal watermelon which is on sale this week for $2.99 each. I grab one of those, and few bottles of electrolytes, and then I remember that tub of delicious hot salsa I had last week and I think to myself, perhaps I should pick up some dip and chips because maybe the only way to combat the heat outside, is to make my body just as hot inside? Does that even work? I think I’m going to find out.
I head to the self checkout, but before I make it there I see this one item that is just glaring at me from the seasonal aisle. There it is in all it’s mid-to late year glory, making a mockery of everything that has been going on outside in the 100 degrees of hell that I call my life. I can’t even believe that I see those two words on ANY label of ANY product at ANY time in this store. “Pumpkin Spice.”
Pumpkin fucking spice? Are you kidding me? This is NOT pumpkin spice weather outside! I don’t want to see anything relating to the Fall if I could buy an egg, crack it on the blacktop outside in the parking lot, and have breakfast ready for me in 90 seconds. You want me to buy pumpkin spice cupcakes? Give me a fucking break.
I know what happens next. I look around the store and suddenly I see bags of trick or treat candy falling off the shelves, just waiting to melt on the way back to the car. I see bottles of beer with their seasonal orange labels that advertise how they crushed up pumpkin seeds and filtered their hops and barely through them only to make the BEST pumpkin spice beer there is. It’ll all starts hitting me at once.
I’ll get home and I’ll turn on the TV and I’ll start seeing those ads for Halloween Horror nights at Six Flags, and those pop-up costume shops will start appearing in strip malls all over the Southland where old Blockbuster Videos used to be. It’s all so premature but that won’t stop Starbucks from jamming Pumpkin spice lattes down my throat, even though we all know they taste like shit!
It’s pushing 101 outside, yet everywhere I look advertisers are trying to tell me to think that it’s a cool 72 degrees and I should be wearing long-sleeves and getting my non-existent kids ready to go back to school. I’m not buying it. It’s only the beginning of September and there are almost three weeks until the Autumn equinox. It’s still goddamn summer outside and technically inside too, otherwise I wouldn’t need the air conditioning on from 8:45 in the morning to 11:57 at night!
Even though I’m a little bit pissy, slightly uncomfortable, and extremely edgy, I pick up the box of pumpkin spice cupcakes because A. I know they’re probably really good, and B. they are the last box left. I have a decision to make, and I make it in about 18 seconds. I know it doesn’t feel like Fall outside. I know there are no leaves on the ground, nor is there any rain in sight. California has two seasons: Summer, and the other one. That other one could easily mean, rain, snow, sleet, gloom, heat, wind or tranquility, at any time of the year with no rhyme or reason as to WHY. Is this the product of El Nino, or is it the feminine version La Nina? I don’t even fucking know. What I do know is that I’m about to trick my body into thinking it’s Fall by purchasing my first pumpkin spice product of the year.
Regrettably, I grab the last container of seasonal cupcakes and I head to the self checkout. I purchase a bag for ten cents, and I proceed to buy my share of fruit, Gatorade, and an item that I don’t feel should be on the shelf right now, but I understand marketing and in some ways I’m a slave to it too. They got me.
It may be hot as hell outside, but when I’m eating these cupcakes in my 74 degree living room in a few minutes, I’m just going to take a bite and close my eyes and pretend like it’s cool and crisp outside and I’m back in New Jersey in the 1980s where right around this time every year I was getting ready for school and I would put away my shorts and t-shirts, and replace them with jeans and three quarter sleeve raglands. It’ll be good, I tell myself. It will feel like it’s really Fall, maybe. After all, football starts tonight, and that is one element of Autumn which I wouldn’t mind if it comes any earlier. Go Eagles!
I put my items in my paper bag, put on my sunglasses, and check my phone.
It reads: 99°F, (feels like 97)
Oh ok. I’ll be fine then because it only “feels like” 97 degrees, and that temperature is so much more cooler than 99. Thank God for sarcasm. It’s the only thing aside from Thursday Night Football and these cupcakes that is going to help me get through this heat wave.
Man, how I miss sleeping in my own bed. Maybe next week.