Eight One

August 1, 2006

I wrote a note to myself this morning, putting “8/1” at the top. Then I got into my car and noticed that the outside temperature gauge reported that it was 81°, the time was 8:11, and the odometer reading was 818181. I drove to a nearby office to transact some routine business, and when I got into my car again I noticed that the temperature had climbed to 83°, the odometer now read 818183, and it was 8:33.

That’s a thing that makes you go hmm.

I didn’t turn on the news last night, and I probably won’t tonight. I know what it will say — there’s still chaos in the Middle East, Mel Gibson has made a fool of himself, and it’s hot.

Really hot.

Those 81° and 83° readings are misleading. My car sits in a garage out of the sun, and the temperature is read by a sensor in a shaded spot under a fender. The fancy-schmancy atomic clock and temperature gauge we have in the kitchen samples the outside air from a device mounted under the back porch. It went to 88° today. The current temperature reading at the Harrisburg International Airport, a spot just north of the fortieth parallel, indicates that it is 91° just past 6:30 pm, with a “real feel” of 105.

I wouldn’t know. Except for that early morning foray to conclude some business, I’ve been inside all day, where we keep the central air set at 78-80. We keep the shades drawn and we have a lot of protection from the heavy foliage that shields our southern exposure, so it stays very comfortable in here.

Or so one would think. Since yesterday I have been experiencing some of the symptoms of heat-related illness. I’m feeling anxious about everything, even though there is nothing in my life to feel anxious about. I have a headache, I’m tired, and I’m feeling a certain degree of mental fogginess, not confusion exactly, but a sense of not being able to concentrate and feeling overwhelmed at the thought of tackling even a simple task such as packing the clothes I’m taking to Vermont that are already clean and folded and that I won’t need before I leave.

I’ve taken all the recommended self-help measures. I’m eating well (Ron made a delicious stuffed zucchini for supper), keeping well-hydrated, and accepting the fact that certain things are not going to get done today and that I might not be able to procure another pair of Easy Spirit Rendir sandals (the most comfortable dress shoes I’ve ever worn).

I am determined to post regularly — the grand hope would be every day, something, somewhere, in some section of this site. This is an “I Had a Pork Chop for Dinner” post, so named because it is like the letters fiction writer Mona Simpson, in her wonderful short story “Lawns,” characterized as “just mundane, that’s all that’s new, I-had-a-pork-chop-for-dinner letters.”

Except I had a stuffed zucchini.

And it was good.

And there were no eight-ones in tonight’s lottery numbers.

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margaretdeangelis [at] gmail [dot] com (replace the brackets with @ and a period)

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