Crazy from the Heat: A Story of Survival

People who know me well know I hate heat. I hate summer. I hate sweating. I hate humidity. I hate insects. I hate that I’m inconveniently allergic to all living things, small or large, especially grass (and it’s not like there’s much of that!). There’s a lot of hate to go around when it comes to summer. I like the chilly decay of autumn and the brutal, nut-frosting cold of winter. The only thing that bothers me about winter is the way traffic grinds to a halt if it starts flurrying. Numerous almost-ending-up-in-a-ditch moments have allowed me to tolerate people driving more carefully in an actual snowstorm, but when there’s salt on the road and barely anything coming down, drive the fucking speed limit or kill yourselves so I don’t have to get stuck behind you, you goddamn retards.

But I digress…

Heat bothers me. Last summer’s career-crisis-induced panic attacks were only exacerbated by the sweltering heat and the terrifying specter of anaphylaxis. I haven’t had an issue with that this year, thanks to months of intensive emotional exploration and some magic pills, but there’s still the heat. The fucking heat!

Right now, as I type this, my desk is sticky with humidity. I repeat: my desk, which is 100% indoors, is hot, sticky-sweet, from its head to its feet, yeah. Which fucking sucks, man.

Some of you might be saying, “But gee, Derek, remember when you used to compulsively exercise and starve yourself because of your absolute terror of what you assumed was your imminent death? Didn’t that cause your lumpy ass to sweat?” First of all: fuck you. Secondly: It’s all about control. I don’t like the cosmos telling me I have to sweat sitting still. If I happen to engage in an activity, preferably one involving my penis, that generates some body heat, that’s my decision. I don’t want to be the ineffectual manservant of the universe, all hot and sweaty because the weather demands it, and I don’t get a say in the matter because I’m just one peon in an infinite expanse. That’s bullshit!

There’s this thing they used to call global warming and now call “climate change.” One of my uncles indoctrinated me with the idea that we’re in the midst of an ice age, and the things happening to the global climate are perfectly normal, and the only reason the planet isn’t covered in sheets of ice is because of the human intervention decried by scienticians and Al Gore. I don’t know about that, but I know this: I hate being fucking hot. That means we need to get shit going on stopping this whole climate change thing. I’m not interested in saving the environment; I’m interested in not being hot. But hey, people have volunteered for hippie causes for worse reasons, like meeting chicks. Wait, that was also me.

A report from a few months ago suggested that within one hundred years, Chicago will have the weather of Baton Rouge. Based on the past few days, I’d offer that such weather has arrived a hundred years early, which is fucking bullshit. Heat, man’s deadliest of foes, has infested this city and caused it to smell vaguely like a septic tank stuffed full of quicklime and animal remains. It makes me want to eat more, and although I try to tell myself that it’s because my body’s burning calories trying to keep cool, I’m pretty sure it’s just because I’m depressed and angry about it because so fucking blindingly, soul-crushingly hot, and I tend to binge-eat when I get depressed and angry.

How do people deal with it? People lived in deserts long before air conditioning existed. I’m sure plenty of them died, but not enough to deter settlements from booming. Is it just a body chemistry thing? Am I not pH balanced for heat? Should I emigrate to Canada and call it a life? Or should I start a tense race riot because Sal didn’t put no brothers on the wall? Or rape a clown in a supply closet?

Seriously, though: doesn’t the fact that extreme heat has such a negative influence on behavior suggest that exposure to it is bad for us? Fuck the heat, man.

Posted by D. B. Bates on July 19, 2011 12:15 PM