Obviously, it is a ridiculous thing to mention but it is hot in the DC Metro area these days. Like triple-digit fahrenheit plus humidity. Too hot to be restless. Yet I am. Deep breath.
I'm trying to work out my days. In the morning, I wake happy, dreams of all the emails and comments running like scales over my eyes. I dream them in my snooze-sleep, my nine-minute pattern of heightened awareness. I read them from bed, eyes closed, all the things you guys have to say to me, publicly and privately. I know them word for word, I take your thoughts to the shower with me, where I shave them slowly away with my day-old beard. By the time I get to work, they're as gone as every other dream, lost to the sweltering subway and the zombie walkers slow to get to work, pacing DC streets in their shifting, shambling way. You can't get around these people and my morning is occupied by restraint; I try so hard not to scream as I am usually unable to get around them, trapped behind their giant sloth-like pedestrianship. DC has the worst walkers of any city I've seen; big city demands at a small-town southern speed.
The city wears this heat like a heavy blanket. It closes up over the feet of the Potomac and stretches out northward into Maryland. It weighs and sweats. It clings and itches. Pretty girls march quickly by in too-high heels and lobbyists wipe their foreheads with a pocket-full of handkerchief. The homeless look faint on their benches or lying on grassy shady spots in the circles and parks. Only the bicycle boys seem to thrive, like cacti. They gather in Farragut park, couriers; they form their little club of glistening laughter while the rest of us mill slowly back to the tunnels after work.
Which is when I go to the bar, Panache. I get a pint of Bass and read my book or my baseball weekly. I'm the Bass guy and the beautiful Fatima or Maria keep me in pints without a word, which is nice. They probably wonder why I don't flirt like the others and call me sweet to my face and fix me with at least two free drinks a week. Sometimes I have a shot of something with them.
Other nights I go home. I live in a great old house with a lovely back and front porch and a garden that my roommate keeps flourishing. There are giant pink lillies and lots of green and old locust trees. I get a book and a chair and an ashtray and a large glass of ice-water and I am happy and calm until bedtime.
Sometimes. But there are other nights, nights when the heat creeps into me and my soul does not wilt. Instead it rises in this restless humidity and drives me out past the outdoor cafes teeming with preppy couples and the odd Vietnamese restaurants and the alterna-coffee house. These evenings, I pace the dusk down residential streets and the dog-walkers and obligatory panting joggers. Nothing happens. I sweat a lot. I buy some ice cream or a Coke.
After, I go home and shower long and cold. I sleep under a thin sheet. And I dream of what you guys are going to say.