It’s been over a week of 105+ Fahrenheit temperatures here in Tucson, which is hot enough that I can’t ride my bicycle or do anything outside really between 10am and 9pm (my limit turns out to be about 101F). I had a strangely familiar but wildly out-of-place feeling driving to “work” a few days ago: cabin fever, which until now I’ve only experienced when I was snowed in. At the same time, I find myself reminiscing unbidden – nay, outright fantasizing – about snowstorms and the times I’ve been coldest in the past.
I watched “Nanook of the North” (a.k.a. the “first documentary”) and was captivated by the concept of warming your hands on your cheeks until you could use them again. I began hungrily plotting when I could try that next. (A San Francisco Bay cruise in October? No, October is lovely and warm in SF.)
At the same time, part of me is living (mentally speaking) on the oceans of 18th century colonial Europe. I’m reading “The Influence of Sea Power upon History: 1660 – 1783,” which sounds incredibly dull, and yet I can hardly put it down. I use the term “read” loosely, since I know that without drawing lots of diagrams (or perhaps recreating the battles in 3-D animations according to the various different accounts) I don’t actually understand the battles in any real sense.
I was initially at a loss to understand why I enjoy this book so much, but had to admit that when I read this book, I escape from Tucson, 105F and about as interesting as a dried-up stick, into a world of green-blue oceans and half-dismasted sailing ships and doomed yet gallant old commanders and even the weevily biscuits of Gibraltar, and that it appeals to me for much the same reason as “Pirates.” “Pirates” is an awful YA historical fiction novel by Celia Rees, set in the middle of the same time period that “The Influence of Sea Power” covers, about two young girls who become pirates. The plot is creepy and insulting, but the historical background kept me going (that and my desire to have something to talk about with my nieces).
One final story of the mental aberration the weather has driven me to: today I cooked a pizza in the big oven (not the toaster oven). Yes, I deliberately created a further sub-climate within my 75F apartment of 450F and cooked food in it. I know I did it in order to pretend that it was cold outside. (It was pretty good, Trader Joe’s whole wheat crust and assorted TJ’s sourced toppings.) Now I’m going to curl up on the couch with “The Influence of Sea Power,” a blanket, and an ice pack.