The Smudginess of Everything

The heat is on. Yesterday was unbearable. Muggy, sticky, yukky … I came out of my class, and I was way up in the Upper East Side. I never go up there. It was the kind of evening where the air does not move. I don’t even care if it’s hot … as long as the air MOVES.

I walked for a while after my class, talking to my parents on the phone, drinking water.

It was 8:45 pm. A smudgy hot sunset sky. You know how the sky looks like a blurred chalk-drawing on a hot hot night? The clouds were smudged-out and grey, and beyond it was a hot hazy pink. Trees lined the Upper East Side streets, leading off to the right to Central Park … already swathed in shadow, and leading off to the left to the East River, a smudge of silver.

I hate the heat, but the colors and sensations sure were pretty. Everything seemed soft, and slightly blending into everything else. Trees blending into the air, the sky blending into the tops of the skyscrapers … Everyone walking on the sidewalk seemed hot, the girls lifting the hair up off their necks, languid gestures, the guys wearing backwards baseball caps. Flip flops.

I then went to the birthday party in a delicious air-conditioned bar. There were flowers, there were Angel Cards (one for each guest. Mine was “willingness”. I’m a raw nerve these days. Just plain old raw. Felt like crying when I read that word), and the birthday girl (my dear friend Jen) was blowing bubbles in the bar. Wearing stilettos, with a rose in her hair. That was my first image of her when I walked in, and I laughed out loud.

I ended up in a conversation with a couple of people I didn’t really know … and we had a blast.

The conversation had a couple recurring themes. At one point, each one of us said something along the lines of:

“Even though I don’t believe in astrology, he was a Pisces, and I was a Gemini … and that just doesn’t mix.”

“I’m a Capricorn and she was an Aries … I mean, I don’t give any credence to all that stuff … but still …”

“I’m a Sagittarian, so factor that one in! Not that I believe in that stuff …”

Each one of us had separate scoffing-at-astrology-yet-accepting-the-horoscope moments. Hahaha

I drank a vodka gimlet. Then I meandered through the smudgy night to the Christophere Street station to go home. I had just missed the train and I had a 40 MINUTE WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE. Life is so bleak in those moments of revelation. It was one o’clock in the morning. I was exhausted. It had been a long day, I had been up since 5.

Everyone was lying around on the Path station floor, waiting, talking quietly. Cute little couples curled up on the tile, girls flopped down using backpacks as pillows … I myself lay down on the tile (no benches, in case you’re wondering what the hell our collective problem was), and read my book until the train came to whisk me under the river and take me home.

Today is not quite as hot, but there remains that still pregnant feeling in the molecules … a tension or pressure that needs to be broken. We’re moving into the season of daily afternoon thunderstorms, and we really need one badly today. I don’t like the blinding glare of mid-day, but I do like the soft sunset of a hot hot night. I’m picky about weather.

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11 Responses to The Smudginess of Everything

  1. They’ve been predicting storms all week for Chicago, storms my allergies badly need. Alas, nary a drop.

  2. red says:

    Yeah – I think it was supposed to rain here yesterday, too – but nothing. So far.

  3. Emily says:

    I’m picky about weather too. That’s why I live in L.A. where we don’t have any.

  4. Mr. Lion says:

    C’mon, it’s only getting into the low 90′s. I love it. Three months ago it was snowing fer chrissakes.

    I absolutely melt driving in this (hot bike + crawling traffic = cooked lion), but it’s a far cry better than the alternative.

  5. Dave J says:

    “The heat is on. Yesterday was unbearable.”

    Yesterday I spent doing absolutely nothing at my mom’s place right on the beach up in Gloucester. Unemployment does have its minor advantages. ;-)

    Emily, I think it must have been L.A. Story where Stev Martin as the TV weatherman records his stuff weeks in advance? Because it’s going to be “75 and perfect” pretty much forever?

  6. Emily says:

    Dave,
    There was the one scene where he pre-taped his report to go on vacation or something. It went something like “sun! sun! sun!” Then it rained the whole weekend.

  7. Too Darn Hot

    Sheila has a great post up about the brutal arrival of summer on the Eastern Seaboard. I whole-heartedly concur with her opinion about hot weather – the march between my office near the National Archives and Metro Center the past…

  8. Stevie says:

    I just love your descriptions, Red. Beautiful and evocative. I feel like I took that walk with you.

    I just moved to Albuquerque two weeks ago and am in weather shock (I used to live in Seattle). It’s hot, dry, dusty, sunny, and the crickets scream at the top of their lungs – I mean, legs. Seattle was gray, moist, mossy, breezy, and the waves of Puget Sound made little splat-splat sounds when they hit the rocky shore. I’m prepared to love it here and I know I will, but for now it’s a little bit “What have I got myself into?”

  9. red says:

    Stevie – you moved? Wow!!

    I have a feeling I would love Seattle weather. I should live in Seattle. Or Wales.

  10. Stevie says:

    Red, if you liked the weather and landscape of Ireland and Wales, then you’ll probably love Seattle. I’ve lived half my life there and I tell myself I love it, and I do, I really do, but when I’m safely ensconced somewhere sunny like San Diego or Palm Springs or even LA, the blinders fall off and I realize that, although I acclimate to the Pacific Northwest, in truth I’m a gecko: a bake-in-the-sun, sip-a-margarita, dive-in-the-pool person. Since I can run my business from anywhere (I designed it to be like that), why not scrape off the mildew and go somewhere warm?

    My bestest friend in the world Ande invited me to stay with her awhile so here I am! She has a hundred-year-old traditional adobe compound a block from the Rio Grande. There’s three dogs, five cats and a black chicken named Puddin’. I look down at the keyboard and already it looks like George Hamilton is typing away. Heaven.

  11. beth says:

    my favorite thing is a cool night after a blazing hot day…even the air feels tired.