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Dying every day

I really need to get out of this town.

For most of the year, our mutual hatred for one another simmers down to a low background murmur of discontentment I can mostly ignore. My neighborhood is bad, so I don’t go on walks or bike rides as often as I would like to. Culture is nearly non-existent, so I don’t get out much. Drive times are horrific and the scenery terrible, so I occasionally talk myself out of seeing my friends and family. I’ve never been a fan of desert vegetation — I find it harsh and alien and I have never been able to feel at home in it — and water is a rarity, so visits to public parks aren’t exactly the tranquil retreats I’d like them to be. But, I don’t know, my family is here and so is my husband’s job and my teenager’s life and the college degree I’m only a semester short of if I ever get back to it, and the cost of living is tolerable. And I’m frankly too poor to uproot and make a life somewhere else. So I deal.

But then May comes around and the temperatures start to rise. A panic sets in. I know I’m about to lose what mobility and social life I vaguely cling to. Sometimes I entirely deplete my store of financial and emotional resources living as though I’ve been given a terminal diagnosis. Because it’s sort of true.

June arrives, and I am rendered literally housebound by Nature. In the same way that winter robs people in northern climates of their mobility with blizzards and killing cold, summer in Phoenix takes tyrannical control of my life. My interaction with the world outside shrinks to its barest minimum, necessities only. I could tell you how long it’s been since I last left my house, but it’s maybe just a little too sad. Cabin fever set in a long time ago, but just stepping outside to collect the mail is enough to remind me why I’m not getting out more. There’s nothing good about living in a place where you need a shower just because you spent thirty seconds beyond the reach of your central air.

For the first few weeks of summer, this hermit-like living is too instinctive, driven by sheerest self-preservation, to inspire much grief. Indeed, it’s hard to think anything at all when the a/c is running nearly constantly and still can’t dispel the heat.

Then I realize it’s July and I’ve spent an entire month dying slowly. I realize this place is killing me. Because this, what I’m doing now, what the heat has made of me, is not living. And it’s going to be literally months still before summer lets me out again. Months of my life every year are lost to this tyranny. The bars of the cage come into focus. I’m bursting with plans and ambitions I cannot realize because they require me to step outside. I’m filled with restless longing, twitching with it, sick with it. And it’s just so hot out there, so ugly, so barren, that the only choice is to stay inside and keep dying.

This is the phase of the summer where I turn desperate because it hits me that this is my life and I’m wasting it in hiding. That this is my life and I’m living it in my own personal Hell on Earth.

I really need to get out of this town.

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2 thoughts on “Dying every day

  1. You realize of course that people living in Minnesota say the same thing, just at a different time of year 😉

    • Same in western NY State too. In fact I said it today. I was just outside shoveling in zero degree weather because my son is working a 14 hour day and the street plow dumped three feet at the end of our driveway. I was outside imagining passing out and then freezing to death 😉

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