Thursday, July 28, 2011
Okay-- forgive me-- I've got my cheezy metaphor of the day, and I'm going to run with it.
When I was in high school/junior high, we lived in the same place my parents live now--it's semi-rural, and my closest friends lived 4 and 4 1/2 miles away, respectively. My best friend was my bike--first a three speed girl's bike, that got me a lot of grief even though it was my first brand new bike EVER, and later, a hand-made bike that looked like a ten-speed but was really just salvaged parts my dad put together and then pinstriped with a flame motif. (I am not shitting about the pinstriping. As a kid, I was not impressed. As an adult, I'm wondering how my head got so far up my ass to not be impressed.)
Anyway, these bikes were my FRIENDS, and in the summer, the only way I could visit my FRIENDS--I even had babysitting jobs that I rode to on my FRIEND the bike, in the blistering, sometimes muggy, heat of the summer.
Now heat is an interesting perception. There was no such thing as a spare-the-air day, or an air-quality index. My parents thought (still think) air conditioners were for sissies, and there was no gym coach telling you to hydrate, goddammit, or your spleen would fall out. Your SPF was the shirt you chose to wear, and if you were smart you ripped the sleeves and the neck out of an old t-shirt so you didn't sweat as much. A sunburn was the mark of a summer well spent. Nobody gave a shit about the actual temperature-- fucking hot was fucking hot--or, thanks to the Samurai, it was ALL hotter than Satan's taint on a barbecue... ride your bike and get the hell over it, right?
I just knew sometimes it was more fucking miserable on the dusty backroads than others--and sometimes that seemed to get worse in different places.
You'd be riding along, and WHOOMP! A big vacuum would replace your oxygen for a steaming wet rag, and breathing would become a challenge you hadn't imagined when you woke up sweating that morning.
And explaining this to people just made you feel like a big fat goober. "It's hotter in that one place in the road, you know?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about--are you making up another story? Maybe there's a rip in the space time continuum there, you think?" *insert disbelieving laughter here*
Anyway--it didn't leave scars and it didn't bother me forever, but about ten years ago, we got the crapmobile, and it's got this nifty little gadget up above the dashboard. In addition to telling you "Hey, dumbass, you've got two miles left before your car sputters and dies because you didn't put gas in the tank!" it also tells you what temperature it is.
Now I've put some mileage on that thing--and I've put a lot of it on the same city streets throughout the last ten years, and I can tell you something weird.
You know those hot spots I used to imagine on my bike as a kid?
They really fucking exist.
No lie. I'll be driving along, and on one specific hill, (the corner of Madison and Manzanita, for anyone local) the temperature is damned near five degrees hotter than anywhere else in the area. And there are other hot spots, and some that are cooler, and my neighborhood is about five degrees cooler than the nearby Greenback and San Juan/Sylvan intersection--but that's no consolation to anyone walking from, say, our house to the Safeway on that corner.
So what's my point?
I don't know what causes them--sometimes I think it's that they're a little higher with a little less foliage to cool them down, or sometimes, I think there's a stream or a wet field nearby to up the humidity and make the thermometer go a little higher. I don't know what causes them, I don't have an actual map to them--but now, I have PROOF THAT THEY EXIST.
So, you know those times when you're feeling just grump-funky, and you snarl at everyone and you're totally pissed off and you don't know why? Well, think about it. There are probably perfectly reasonable, rational explanations for how pissed off you are--you just don't know what they are yet. Thinking back on some past moments in my work history, I have specific memories of being SUPREMELY unhappy with the people I worked with--I mean, not once but TWICE I had my schedule completely reworked to my inconvenience because I had maternity leave coming and SOMEONE was unhappy to be taking orders from my uterus. And no matter how much people tried to convince me that there was no way around this, I would be SERIOUSLY pissed off for a while. Now that I've got some space from that situation, I realize that I SHOULD HAVE BEEN pissed off. In fact, I should have been A LOT MORE pissed off than I was--I just kept telling myself that it was my imagination.
Like a hotspot in the road.
That I just proved really exists.
So I'm going to keep that in mind. Telling myself a hotspot doesn't exist just makes me madder. Acknowledging that it DOES exist even if I don't understand the causes of it at least assures me that I'm not crazy.
And it's VERY VERY VERY possible that I just may be right.