It’s been a hot summer here in lil ol’ Los Angeles, and like many Angelenos, I live in a crappy shoebox without air conditioning and surrounded by concrete that does nothing but soak up and reflect back the horrible, horrible heat.
For a couple of my summers here, one of my jobs was at a small business that didn’t have a/c, so the temperature relative to home was much hotter and made my place seem livable. The last summer I was there, we got a/c, and all hell broke loose. Last year I was unemployed and living on frozen slices of watermelon and not wearing pants. This year, employment means pants and pants mean uncomfortable transfer heat, not to mention laundry and assorted household chores done during the horrendous peaks of midday sun exposure. (At least I live on the Westside and not in Silverlake–it’s a well-known fact that hipsters raise temperatures by an average of 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit, because they are attracting the fires of hell.)
There a number of transplants to this area, like myself, who can’t cope with temperatures above 75F, and also like myself, refuse to buy a window a/c unit because the second you buy it the temperature will drop to 35 and we’ll all look like idiots, and you can’t return things to craigslist. I tried. It gets weird, and everyone you email ends up being a sex worker. Which is fine, but they don’t take returns either. Ba da da da dum! I’ll be here all week, try the veal.
So we cope, and we pray for rain because a) megadrout that will kill us all but also does not prevent bottled water companies from tapping into public reservoirs, and b) sweet, sweet relief for the thirty seconds it takes the rain to evaporate from the sidewalk. We also do stupid things, like make pancakes. “But why is that stupid, Sarah?” you ask, hungry for pancakes and angry that this is the internet and they are not available. Why, indeed, angry hungry stranger. Why indeed.
Like many Angelenos, my apartment came with a stove-oven combo. It is a gas stove-oven combo. So far, so good. Like many Angelenos, my stove-oven is white enameled metal with zero insulation and an overactive pilot light that makes the kitchen uncomfortably warm even when it’s off. When it’s on, it’s like you’ve got a hipster in the kitchen. So this morning, I’m sending off my friend after a lovely visit, and thinking, “hey, homemade pancakes are a wonderful way to end a trip and also walking is hard”. I make the batter, I heat up the pan (“oh, god, it’s so hot in here already”) and I start making my usual 2” pancakes. I like to stack them, like a tower of Babel, so high as to be an affront to the will of any god paying attention to breakfast food. By the time those little pancakes are done, I’m sweating bourbon from last Friday into them and I hate everything in the whole world, including my friend and breakfast. But I’m adaptable, I cope. “Why, self,” I say, “you just need to make bigger pancakes! that mean you can turn the stove off sooner and eat your own pancakes, too!”
Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s not breakfast if you’re not building that pancake tower and offending the good and might lord with the lightning bolts and such, but this is Los Angeles. We get confused when we get nice things.
To this end, I developed a theory right now to fill out the word count of this piece and also explain traffic. You’d think after several decades of polluting our own corner of the world and torturing ourselves for a million hours a day in awful awful commutes, our rich and powerful corporate overlords would have come up with some sort of workable transit system, or hovercars. Traffic discriminates against no man, and if polled, would actually tell you it hates rich people. (Worst traffic in the city: West Side. Highest concentration of wealth in the city: West Side. Coincidence? Absolutely not, poor people have to get to and from there to provides services for the rich people.) But the reality is that we all remember or currently live in places that have no climate control, and so we prefer to run to our shiny shiny cars (how do they stay so shiny in a megadrought and none of us are washing our cars? OH WAIT) and bask in the unlimited whoosh of cool air that wastes all the gas we should be using on idling on the 110 as motorcyclists zoom by at terrifying speeds. Why would we want to speed up? I don’t want to be inside my house, or worse, outside my house on days like today. I also don’t want to be at work because I’m an American and work is for foreigners stealing our jobs. The car is our space to be free.
This theory is also supported by the number of people who drive to the beach on holiday weekends and don’t leave the house until noon. How else can you spend $20 on parking, walk across miles of blistering sand to a crowded coastal spot, fight off a herd of mutant seagull-lions for blanket space, and then swim in waters guaranteed to give you some sort of flesh-eating disease? It’s absolutely worth living in the least affordable city in the country just for that privilege.
I would finish this off with a witty timeline, but it’s 8pm and I’m about two seconds away from mopping up the brains that have melted out of my ears, so I’ll leave you with this:
Winter is coming, and someday we’ll see a 60 degree day and complain about how cold it is. Take heart, and go drive around aimlessly somewhere.