Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Long Summer Day

We have reverse seasons here where I live. Summer is when nothing grows, your electric bills are out of sight, and if you stay outside too long, you’ll die. The temperature hovered around 112 or 113 degrees for two weeks earlier in the month, but today the high is forecast to be 107. We are congratulating ourselves on the cooler weather. Relativity.

I know I’m harping on the heat, but there is a reason. I’m housebound, and I think it’s affecting my sanity.

In the past - 2007, for example - one could at least drive from one’s air-conditioned house in one’s air-conditioned car to some pleasantly air-conditioned location, but those days are gone. I’ve managed to limit my driving so much that I only have to fill up about every three weeks, as a rule. This week has been an exception. I’ve used half a tank of gas driving hither and yon, mostly on trips to the library and nearest bookstore for in-depth research I can’t do on the internet. I know I’ll have to pay for it, but it’s been heaven to get out.

This morning I drove to the home of the book producer for Poisoned Pen Press, Nan Beams, who is working at home three days a week rather than drive to Scottsdale every day. An artist is ready to begin work on the cover of my January ’09 book, so I took a couple of old photographs to Nan’s house, because she has a proper photo scanner and I don’t. On the way, I pass a gas station selling regular for $3.99 and I begin figuring whether it would burn more gas to travel this far from home to buy cheaper gas than it would save. I am perversely amused by the notion that I consider $3.99/gallon ‘cheap gas’. More relativity.

I spend half an hour at Nan’s house, watching her scan in photos while I pet her fat cat, then I start home, determined to buckle down and work. But I’m free, at least for the moment, and the nearer I get to home the more depressed I become. Until totally of its own accord, my car turns into the parking lot of a Good Egg restaurant and a force beyond my control draws me inside and orders eggs Benedict.

I feel very guilty for succumbing to my inner glutton. However, I remember a radio program I heard not long ago. Recent scientific research indicates that will power is finite. That is, if we are using all our will power on one thing, such as not smoking, then we have very little left to apply to another, such as not eating that quart of Ben and Jerry’s. This makes me feel better.

I finally get home around one o’clock and sit down to work on my latest book. My main character, Alafair, is not speaking to me. All the other characters won’t shut up. I could write entire books for each and every one of them. But Alafair is my central character, and I can’t interest her in telling me what she thinks. I write five complete pages of dialog, and Alafair has nothing to say.

Well, perhaps I will work on my blog posts. Since it’s hot and I’m housebound and not thinking clearly, I have volunteered to contribute to yet another blog - yes, my third blog. Am I nuts? We shall soon see. I did it because I’m trying to expand my web presence since I’m not going to be able to travel as much as I want. The new blog is about food. The contributors write books in which food is a major element. The address is I write up a nice entry, but when I attempt to post, I can’t get in. What is amiss? I e-mail the blog manager for another invitation, and while awaiting an answer, I go back to my book. I had such success earlier, but now nothing is coming. I type a few words out of sheer determination, and then Alafair finally speaks to me.

Go take a nap, she says.


Vicki Delany said...

When I moved to Prince Edward County, I wanted to be out in the country. I specifically chose a house that is only 4 KM from town. I saw one in particular that I liked very much, but it was 20mins by car from town, which I decided was too far. The day is coming, I am convinced, and not too far away when gas will be so expensive, and/or so hard to get, that I'll be walking, or biking, the 4 KM to buy a loaf of bread. In the meantime, my mom is visiting and we're going out for a drive!

Donis Casey said...

Vicki, I was just wondering if Canadian gas is as expensive as U.S. gas. You just answered that question. It actually occurred to me that expensive gas is probably a good thing to happen to this country. It's just too bad that it has to inconvienience me personally. (That's a joke, Dear Readers. Don't write me scathing notes.)

Rick Blechta said...

Outside of a few places on this planet, the US actually has cheaper gas than most -- even now. If you want to see horrendous gas prices, go to Europe, for instance.