Deleted Scenes: Leaving The Kitchen

It’s so goddamned hot.

I’d love to write you a Deleted Scenes column this week. Maybe some pithy commentary about Mitt Romney’s taxes, or some drawn out snide thing about how Michael Phelps winning a bunch of Olympic medals means recreational pot use doesn’t automatically destroy your life, or about how the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin won’t get as much tv play as Aurora, Colorado’s recent mass killing because the victims weren’t white. I really would. But I can’t. It’s just too hot.

This morning, I walked out of the house and felt the organs in my body begin to shut down. I’m not cut out for the heat. I start to despair and long for the air conditioner. I start to think about ice water to the exclusion of all else. I get terrible headaches, and after a while, I get so overheated that even an icepack on the nuts won’t cool me down. It’s vicious.

All of a sudden, the blues makes sense. Or that trend a few years back of dudes from the South half-wearing their shirts. I’ll be damned if I didn’t take the dog for a walk this afternoon with my t-shirt rolled up over my gut. It happened. Believe it.

Last week in the Midwest, according to the Huffington Post, fish began to die in rivers because the water was too hot. 2012 is the hottest summer since they started keeping track. Here on the East Coast, we’ve had some rain, but it seems to boil off as soon as it hits the pavement. There’s just no relief from it. Every time a storm rolls through, I get sucked into the narrative. Okay, now it’s not going to be as humid. Okay, now the temperature’s going to even out. It never happens.

The worst part is—and I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about politics—but just as nefarious corporate right wing special interests have pushed the American political dialogue so absurdly far into the conservative that birth control was almost an election issue this year, so too have these ridiculous temperatures warped our memories of what summer used to be.

Think about it. Summer in Jersey. It was hot, it was humid, but it was livable, and that’s the line we’ve crossed. You go out in this heat, and you will die. It’s utter fucking madness, and when it didn’t snow this entire last winter, I said to myself, “Well, maybe it’ll balance out with a cooler summer.” No dice. No balance. Only that oppressive kind of humidity that feels like water as it fills your lungs. Only more and more freak storms that provide less and less relief. When Hurricane Irene came rolling through last year, it was a once-in-a-century storm. If our new climate is this tropical, how long can it really be until we get hit again?

Sorry, folks. I don’t even have the energy to be an environmental alarmist. Or to be much of anything else. I’m fading fast, and no matter how much I try to regulate the temperature, the simple fact is I’m not at all convinced of my survival. I don’t think I’m going to make it.

You guys go on without me, go read the rest of the issue without Deleted Scenes. Leave me here. I’ll sit under this shady tree and someone will be by soon with water to share, or a gallon of ice cream, or a train ticket to Siberia. Maybe eventually I’ll make my way to Canada and see where the geese go when they’re not crapping on our baseball outfields. Or maybe I’ll stay where I am and just close my eyes for a while, wait for winter to come. I think I can feel it now.

JJ Koczan