Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hot to trot

NOW READING: A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

I totally want to go to India. I want to go now. I didn't realize how now I want to go until just, well, the other minute as I was idly flipping through my book. I am aware that India is an enormous country and there are so many different regions and things to see that the statement "I want to go to India" doesn't really say much. But that's not the point. It'd be like saying "I want to go to the United States." People have said that. Then who cares if they meant only New York or something? So there's a lot of India to see. So? So I want to start seeing it.

I really am itching to go there. And I want to go for a long time and see as much of India as I've seen of these ol' United States, which could take years, I realize. Recently Brian and I have been amusing ourselves counting how many of the 1000 Places To See Before You Die we've been to. I've been to 43--and a good deal of those are in the U.S. My well-traveled-in-the-U.S.-ness serves me well. In fact, there's a sequel out which is 1000 Places To See Before You Die - USA and Canada and I'm well over 100 in that one.

But back to India, which is big and has many places to see and has not been visited by me. I want to go there. And you know another thing that excites me about India? It's hot. I like hot. In A Passage to India they are all talking about the Hot Weather. The Hot Weather is a-comin'. Mrs. Moore wants to leave India now that all the drama is happening after the disastrous cave visit and everyone's like, "But you can't travel during the Hot Weather." God, I can't think of anything more delectable.

And I like all different kinds of hot. I of course grew up in the dry heat. Just last night I was talking to some random people about dry heat. Well, they were talking about dry heat and I overheard them and asked where they were from (this was taking place in Manhattan) and they weren't from but had been to Las Vegas and they asked where I was from and then we talked about Arizona. I love the "But it's a dry heat" nonsense. I loved when some radio station or newspaper columnist or someone was talking about it, too, something along the lines of, "You go to Phoenix, the heat is killing you but everyone tries to console you with 'But it's a dry heat.' Yeah, sure. Guy bursts into flames on the sidewalk--but it's a dry fire!" Ha ha ha.

Remember those August days when you walk out of your air-conditioned house and it feels like someone's turned a hairdryer in your face? Oh, you Phoenicians and other dry heaters know so well what I'm talking about. The great thing about it, is, why do you live there then if you hate it? Why have you built this sterile civilization of air-conditioning in the middle of the desert by diverting so much water from the Colorado River that hardly a trickle is left when it gets to Mexico? In all sincerity, Phoenix as we know it should not exist. I grew up there and I love it, but I think it's kind of cool that mother nature bitch-slaps us with 122 degrees every once in a while.

I like other kinds of heat, too. Tropical heat. Yummy. Swampy delicious. Man, I spent about five minutes in Jamaica (had a layover in Montego Bay) but my entire impression of that place is that it was just hot--unbelievably hot, giving new meaning to the word. And Cuba? Another world. I never felt heat like that in my life. Never before and never since. The sun is closer to you, seriously. And you feel just this glorious sunny heat all the time. Except during the daily torrential rain(most afternoons during hurricane season).

I think the temperature was probably in the 80s (fahrenheit) most of the time I was there, but there was also humidity. It wasn't just about being muggy either. It was about the sun being so close to you it was as if it could reach down and touch you. It slathered its heat upon you. And the tan--sheesh! I returned from there so amazingly naturally tan, and it was gradual from an entire summer of days under that sun, not one fell sunburn swoop. I remember my sister commenting on a picture that happened to be taken of me with a half a dozen or so family members almost two full months after I returned to the U.S. "Geez, compared to Linda the rest of us look like ghosts!" she observed.

So, what's the heat like in India? I don't know. This book stops short (at least so far) of describing the Hot Weather. I'm sure there are different heats in different parts of the country as well (like here in the U.S.) There was one part of this book where Forster wrote of "films of heat" and I found that a delectable description.

I like other things besides heat. I like snow too. I like brisk autumn days. (Spring and I are still working out our issues.) So, why do I get so passionate about the heat? (That's like the heat of passion, only different) (and that kind of supports my case, as no one ever says things are coldly good in idiom! just cool) (too many parentheses) I rise to its defense because people are so mean about it. But I think we're meant for it. Aren't the cradles of human civilization equatorial desert?

"It was early in the morning, for the day, as the hot weather advanced, swelled like a monster at both ends, and left less and less room for the movements of mortals." - p. 219

Nice! You tell 'em, mother nature. You show us who's boss.

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