Near the end of June it began to get stinking hot. Muggy awful walls of heat expanded to fill our house. The short walk between the office and my Jeep, at the end of the day, robs the air from my lungs. This part of June is not pleasant at all, and certainly not what my family and I expected from Oregon. You owe us, Oregon. You owe us rain and fog and the blues. We lost our chinchilla just a week ago, likely to the heat. Mochi was a dear plump fine-furred member of the family, and we feel a pang of guilt and sadness when we look at the corner where his home no longer stands. Chinchillas were designed for alpine conditions, and I hold Oregon responsible once again.
June has become July, and temperatures -- I just typed temperaturds, which seems funnily accurate -- and the heat rises. Our home boasts a farm of spinning fans, and we have ordered an air conditioner. It will take two days to arrive. Our home's thermostat reads 87 degrees. Two days is an eternity.
I've just helped my daughter fall asleep -- no easy feat in these conditions -- and it seems a combination of cooling fans and her favorite lullaby has worked, if only barely. That lullaby is Josh Ritter's mournful "Idaho":
Out at sea for seven years I got your letter in Tangier I thought that I'd been on a boat Til that single word you wrote That single word it landlocked me Turned the masts to cedar trees And the winds to gravel roads Idaho, oh Idaho
She has good taste, Squish. And I'll forgive Oregon a bit for the heat wave. For one, it isn't alone. Everyone I know is sweating through their sheets, from California to Carolina. But for another, it affords us the chance to see people like Mr. Ritter perform. Felicia and I saw him at the Crystal Ballroom a couple months back, and he opened with "Idaho". We saw Patty Griffin in the same place a week or two ago now, and that was a good show, too... though I think we enjoyed Ritter's a lot more.
This is a very meandering post. I don't write on message when there is sweat trickling down the backs of my thighs, or when I'm collapsing from heatstroke. Which also means I haven't been working on Eleanor these past few nights. The heat has melted all of the solder points in my brain. This post is all I can muster.
One thing has gone right this month, however. June saw me sell my ten thousandth book, and when midnight on the 30th rolled around, I'd sold over 4,000 in June alone. Readers keep reading, even when I'm not writing. Thanks, everyone, for turning the pages and moving on to the next book. I'm happy that people are enjoying these stories.
I don't really have a strong ending for this, so I'm laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of Oregon. Thanks a lot, Oregon. Get it together, man.