Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hot and Humid

After a rainy June and a delightful July, we're into a disgusting August. We've had many, many days of heat and humidity. I know New York has had worse summers--I've lived through them--but every time the real heat kicks in, it's just gross. I live in an old apartment building. It was built in 1905, give or take a year, and central AC was just not part of any building plan more than 100 years ago. (Happily, space was, which makes my spacious and cheap apartment a real rarity.) So we have window units that dehumidify rooms and make it comfortable. It's a blessing to have the window units, and we have them in all our bedrooms and the living room, so things could be worse. However, we do not have one in our kitchen and the setup of the place doesn't allow the kitchen to get cooled by any of the units we do have, so the kitchen is always sweltering. Bake something and it's a thousand times worse. So don't bake, you say. I know, but last Sunday I bought a few delicious peaches from the farmer's market and I desperately needed to make a peach crumble. So I didn't preheat the oven until the thing was almost ready to pop in, kept the kitchen doors closed (there are two), and once I stuck it in the oven I left and just let it combust in there. Last Sunday was a great writing day, too; I'd be working on my computer in my room, air conditioning going full blast. Walk down the hall, which is also cool due to the living room unit. Walk through the kitchen door to check on the crumble and melt. Oy, vey. Spoon a portion of peach crumble onto the plate, take it back into the cool bedroom and eat. Repeat.

They've been promising us rain for a few days to cool everything off. And we did have one impressive rainstorm two nights ago; I haven't seen rain that intense ever, and I lived for 18 months in Costa Rica. The thunder and lightning began when I was in the shower. I heard rumbling, but it was so sustained I thought there must be fireworks in Central Park. They'll do that on random occasions in the summer, and I didn't think much of it. But then I got out of the shower, and with the water no longer running I could tell what it was. And then lightning began. Rather than turn on the Yankees in my room (because while my room has windows, they look over an air shaft and you can't see much, and the configuration of the TV and air conditioner and bureau and bookshelf prohibit me from opening them) I went to the living room to write on the laptop and listen to the rain.

I have to say, since Costa Rica, rain evokes rather intense feelings for me. Countless days we were out in it, trudging through a downpour on our way to visit somebody, only to get stood up and be left wondering what to do with our newfound extra hour. We could knock on doors, but that was inefficient. We could visit somebody, but they usually lived quite a distance away. So we would do one or the other anyway, under umbrellas four feet in diameter (not exaggerating) and stil get drenched from mid-thigh down. We wore skirts and sandals, Tevas, so it didn't ruin our shoes, but so many times I just wanted dry feet. Countless days I longed to go home and change into sweats and slippers and read. And now, more than twelve years later, when it rains I experience that yearning to go home and change into sweats and slippers and read. And when it's at all possible, I do and I just revel in it. When I'm home to begin with, as I was the other night, I just sink into a couch or bed or chair and appreciate being dry.

I know it's strange. But remaining soggy for 9 months at a time will do that to a person. Even twelve years later.

But that rainstorm did not knock out the humidity. The humidity remains in a giant wet blanket enveloping the city. It was supposed to rain yesterday, and it didn't, and it's still as humid as ever. They're promising more storms today (more? how about "some"?) and tomorrow and a dry weekend and week ahead. Please, let it rain! (when I can go inside and change into sweats.) writing-related news...the new book continues apace. I've gotten some great feedback on it and I'm actually excited to keep going forward. I figure, if I keep what I've written (always a question), I'm about half done with the first draft. Yay! Of course, I've written out everything that I knew was going to happen. I now know the ending, but what lies in between...I don't know. I'm standing at the edge of a gaping black morass, wondering what on earth to write. Exciting stuff. I just arrived at that point two days ago. We'll see where I go from here.

Marie Curie continues apace. My screenwriters' group is reading it and we'll get together next week to discuss. Anil and I are going to talk this Friday and have a long phone conversation where we discuss my draft and his, and who is right and who wins. (this is not exactly what we discuss, and this is not what it feels like, but sometimes it's fun to make little 'notches' each time I win one and he wins one. All in good fun.) We figure that Hollywood is on vacation, and we're aiming for a new round of submissions in September. And September is when the movies in theatres turn serious, so hopefully some dramas will perform well and shake loose this "I will only produce a comedy, because comedy is the only thing in the world that sells! Drama is a dirty word!" attitude. Please, people, someone needs to break from the herd. And if that person broke with Marie (our version of Marie, not someone else's), that would be fantastic.

Also in writing-related news, I am developing carpal tunnel syndrome in my left hand/wrist. Exciting stuff! I went to an orthopedist a week ago for a sharp pain in my wrist, and he said it was tendinitis and to let it rest and leave it alone. Well, a few days later, I began developing a tingling sensation in my fingertips...which hasn't gone away. Classic carpal tunnel symptom. I don't have the tingling in my right hand, knock wood. So I've ordered a wrist brace from Doc Ortho (a real brand!) and have started doing carpal tunnel exercises and stretches. We'll see. All of my injuries come from sitting. Hmm.

Enjoy the last weeks of summer! I will, as soon as it rains again.

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