Suddenly, I Live in a Desert

I walked in a desert.
And I cried,
“Ah, God, take me from this place!”
A voice said, “It is no desert.”
I cried, “Well, But—
The sand, the heat, the vacant horizon.”
A voice said, “It is no desert.”
—Stephen Crane

The above-quoted something circulates in academic circles as a poem. It doesn’t much resemble a poem, but the word of the literary critic is the word of god. What follows from this purported poem, besides that judeo-christian god is mean, is that there is no consensus as to what a desert is. (On an irreligious note, I am aware that I’m supposed to capitalise Judeo-Christian God, except I prefer not to.)

What is this thing, the desert, then? First, what makes a desert desert-ish is its deserted quality. Duh. In other words, the desert is a non-entity in the middle of nowhere where there is no civilisation, vegetation, animation or Wi-Fi. (Again, I am aware that this doesn’t even make sense, but I like it.) I look around—and yep, there’s nothing of substance around here, so check. Furthermore, a quality desert is boiling at day and freezing at night. I feel around—and indeed, these features check, too.

The obvious conclusion is that I live in a fucking desert. (Insert a dramatic pause when I’m waiting for a voice to tell me that this is not a fucking desert. — Nothing. Nevermind.) About deserts, you would have noticed the recent heatwave. Unless you live in an underground nuclear shelter because no one told you that the cold war is over-ish. If that’s the case, stay put, you’re good and cool down there.

I’m mostly glad for global warming. A person has the right to be warm at least a few days in a year and, above all, global warming doesn’t give a shit whether I approve of it or not. So I might just as well approve and have one problem less. This year though, global warming broke its personal record. Before this year’s heatwave, I didn’t live in a desert. And then I woke up like dis and suddenly I did.

img_20180808_194553-01793394545.jpeg
Tesco has AC. I don’t

My accustomed and perfectly acceptable indoor temperature at the peak of an average summer heatwave is 86 F (30° C). My preferred indoor temp in any season is 78.8 F (26° C). Lower than that is not consistent with life. This year my room is at 87.8 F (31° C), which doesn’t seem like much difference, but it’s exactly the difference between yeah, okay and nah, too much. I got hot. Not sexy hot but sweaty-ish hot. (Maintaining that a) I’m always sexy hot, b) I don’t sweat, I perspire, and I don’t perspire.)

I got so super hot that I got to sleep on top of the blanket. Even more appalling, in the worst days, I had to sleep sans clothes. It was highly confusing. I hate to sleep uncovered and uncurled and I don’t particularly enjoy waking up and looking at my boob. All weird, creased and crinkled because boobs are affected by gravitation when their owner is lying flat, and it’s not a flattering perspective. Don’t look at your boobs when lying down.

Also, one day I got so hot hot that I went to hang out in Tesco. They have AC. I spent two hours and cooled down very thoroughly because the place was a fucking freezer. Next time I’ll know to bring a coat. Apart from minor frostbite that I incurred, it was a highly enjoyable stroll. I read all the labels on all the products. I bought a thing or two. And then they kicked me out in the oven outside because they were closing. Tomorrow I’m going again. I’m bringing my laptop to set up an office there. You’re not gonna get rid of me that easy.

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Author: Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

15 thoughts

  1. I think the poem is referring to the desert within ourselves. There are times when our minds are devoid of thought or if it has thought it’s often the one we had yesterday.
    Your mention of heat over your way is hardly encouraging for us as summer isn’t far away from me, already our days start off cool, 4C and rise to 23C….all very pleasant at the moment but come summer we may be up in the high 30s.
    We have people here who like you go to the shopping mall because its cool there and basically stay there all day. When I was first married we lived in small country town, no air con and we spent our weekends in the Country Club as it had air con. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. As for boobs, I will leave them alone…lol….I have other issues…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. facepalm You’re right, the poem could be interpreted as speaking of the desert in ourselves. How on earth did it never occur to me!

      I can’t say if you should be worried that a hot summer is coming over to you, I can only suggest not to worry. No point. I imagine you do have AC at home, so you’ll be fine. Where I live, temps in mid-30s in summer are rare, but this year went crazy and we had weeks of temperatures this high.

      I still go hang out in Tesco when I feel like I need a break from the heat, though it’s got much cooler now. I mean, it’s just around 30 degrees, so relatively cooler 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Imagery sometimes points me in certain directions. I’m sure there will be plenty who disagree with my interpretation
        Hope it stays cool for you 😀

        Like

  2. I realise the double meaning of this ‘poem’, but I’ve never understood what makes a poem a poem. So many people seem to just stack words, one on top of the other and call it poetry?!

    It’s been [is] hot and humid here, but I think it was worse back home. They had all the fires too. We don’t have an a/c. Was going to buy a portable one, but when I had finally made up my mind, they were sold out LOL.

    The malls are popular places to go to … one could mosey around in there for hours. Costco is the coolest place — they have the dairy room and the room where all the veggies are. In there, you need a jacket. Starbucks is nice. The worst is when you get out of these places … the hot wetness hits you like a wall. It’s good when one can start to sleep under the covers again.

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    1. What makes poetry poetry? That would be a long discussion. I guess it’s just — consensus.

      Apparently, there were no fans available to buy during the heat wave here either, but I didn’t care about one. Right now, it’s time to take out my heater. It’s got cold quickly.

      Like

  3. It’s a lovely poem.

    You could get frostbite in Tesco? Nah, Hypothermia, maybe.

    AC is what is causing the heatwave – all that power consumed and radiating heat to make the cold.

    Did you read that crypto datamining now consumes as much energy as Ireland – and all that heat escaping in the process.

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    1. It always was a puzzling but pleasant poem for me.

      Please don’t say that I can’t get frostbite in Tesco. I’m this kind of person who will want to prove you wrong and will immerse in the freezer among the frozen veggie packs if required… 😉

      I had no idea about the ecological effects of crypto mining. Just as well I don’t do it. And just as well I don’t have AC…

      Like

    1. Wow! It just occurred to me how deep this post might be. A shame this wasn’t a deliberate intention to start with. Managing something accidentally isn’t that great.

      Like

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