So I finally got around to starting phase II of the house renovation. Phase I was a couple years ago, and it’s taken me this long to muster the gumption to dive in again. And as always, my timing is impeccable, as recent headlines can attest. Record-breaking Heat Wave hits the Southwest. Heat Wave brings triple digits to Colorado. Heat Wave to get worse before it gets better.
This is relevant only because I’ve been painting doors the last few days (what can I say – I enjoy living on the edge). Painting them in the garage, in the midst of these ridiculous temperatures. You see, I don’t have a workshop in this house, so I have to make do in the garage. We moved here a little over five years ago which meant, for the first few projects, I was squatting on the concrete floor like a Masai tribesman. Then last summer I built a workbench that folds up out of the way in order to make room for, you know, the cars. It’s an improvement, but the garage still makes a shitty workshop. Especially when it’s 104 degrees out.
Anyway, there I was painting, a patchwork of damp sweat spots decorating my teeshirt, when one of my neighbors walked by. “Hot enough for ya?” he queried, an asinine smirk affixed to his mug. It probably shouldn’t have come as a complete surprise, seeing as how the man keeps appliances on his porch. In the interests of suburban diplomacy, I gave him a courtesy smile and turned back to my task. Goober.
It’s something I used to hear all the time from customers at one of my early jobs, pumping gas (yeah, it was that long ago). Standing in the dead sun on molten asphalt in long dark pants and a long-sleeved dark shirt in the stifling steam bath that was Michigan in August (because allowing the attendants to wear sensible clothes while earning their $4 an hour would have been too civilized, I suppose), I would wait for the customers to lower their windows, at which time I could feel the cool of the air conditioning escaping as I leaned in to hear their instructions. And invariably, because we humans are such an empathetic bunch, they would pose what amounted to the grandaddy of all stupid questions. “Hot enough for ya?” And it was always accompanied by that self-satisfied, shit-eating grin, the same one my neighbor sported. Because they were all so very proud of themselves and the fact that they had come up with not only the most clever thing anyone had ever spoken since cavemen first began to verbalize their thoughts, but also the most original. I never dignified it with an answer because, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, stupid is as stupid says.
Lucky for me, I imagine I’ll be hearing it more and more as global warming turns the whole place into a giant Easy Bake oven. So yes, it’s hot enough for me – thanks for asking.