Forgive me for repeating myself, but: It's just too
Upon conferring with folks day to day, I find that
I'm not the only one who feels this way. We have
all agreed that we can't remember it being this hot.
Global warming? Maybe so, but whatever the cause,
I need a new summer hobby.
You look around at folks on the streets these days,
it's like a scene from George Romero's Dawn of the
Dead: Folks walking around, slack-jawed, sluggish
and slow, mumbling incoherently when you speak to them.
Summertime zombies, that's what we are. We're walking
the streets like zombies looking for Gatorade.
I can fish in spring and fall, or very early in the
morning. But after about 10 a.m., it's just too
miserably hot to stay out there.
Sunday I took off in the boat for the basin. Within
an hour I had taken two bass, decent sized, and a
couple of small perch.
But then the midmorning heat came in, and the fish
shut their mouths and refused to say boo to me. The
sweat started rolling into my eyes, making casting
accurately a difficult task at best. By 11 a.m.,
the automatic bilge pump on the boat kicked on,
and I was terrified she had sprung a leak. But no,
she was just relieving herself of the gallons of
accumulated sweat in the bilge.
So I went in. The ride back to the boat launch was
so refreshing, I circled a couple times just to
enjoy it, then finally coasted in to the ramp and
the oppressive, breezeless heat. By the time I got
the boat loaded, my shirt was soaked, and by the
time I got home, unhooked and cleaned up the boat,
all I could do was go inside, shower and change
clothes, and collapse on the sofa.
I barely left the house the rest of the day, sucking
in air-conditioning like it was the nectar of the gods.
I watched a couple of bad movies and one good one,
played on the computer, wrote a little, and cussed
So either I need an air-conditioned lake, or I need
a summer hobby that can be enjoyed indoors. This is
not an easy proposition. I hate being stuck inside.
I am an outdoorsy kinda guy. While I had been
considering a new boat building project, Sunday's
fishing trip forced me to realize that the last
thing I want to be doing is working outside on a
Fishing and boat-riding are the only water sports
I enjoy. I don't ski, tube, hydroslide or swim. Not
to say that I can't swim, but I grew up with
repetitive inner ear problems, and my early years
were pretty much swimless, so it's not a pastime
I grew fond of. I can swim well enough to save my
life (I think) should the boat overturn or something,
but recreationally, not my cup of tea.
Perhaps I could take up painting. Gary Drinkwater,
a local artist of considerable talent, recently
sent me a lovely work he recently created, for
which I am most grateful, and it got me to thinking
maybe I want to try painting. But then I realized,
as talented as Gary is, maybe we had better strike
a deal: I won't paint, if he doesn't take up writing.
I might get outgunned!
One of the local area's most talented artists is
Francis Todd, whose work with film is magnificent
and many times hauntingly beautiful. But Francis
specializes in outside photography, so there we go
again. Much as I love photography, the idea of
photographing fruit baskets on my kitchen table
just doesn't float my boat.
"Maybe you could work on the house, cheesehead,"
you say. This is true, except that in order to do
so, I have to go out to the shop. It's miserable
in the shop, and going in and out is surely a
guarantee of pneumonia.
I started trying to tie fishing flies. It's difficult,
considering my vision is so poor, but it's an inside
job. I started by tying some simple flies called the
Jitterbee, a Louisiana-created little jewel for bluegill
which looks like a bee. The Jitterbee is tied with
chenille, which is pretty coarse stuff, and I can
just about see it well enough that I tied a half
dozen of the worst looking Jitterbees ever. They
look like there was a bad gene pool in the hive,
and I doubt any self-respecting perch will have
anything to do with it.
Then I wanted to experiment with more traditional
flies using feathers and fur. I was creating some
monstrosity which vaguely resembled a One Eyed One
Armed Flying Purple People Eater when I decided
that it needed a little hairy fluff on the tail
to finish it off nicely. I also decided it needed
to be black and tan. I had no black and tan deer
hair in my fly tying box.
Then I spied Patches, my beloved tortoise shell
calico cat, napping on the sofa.
She opened one eye to watch me suspiciously as
I approached with the scissors.
"Just a little nip," I said. "You'll never miss it."
She yawned, and flexed her claws. I got the idea,
and finished off the fly with some red and yellow
I already had. Really doesn't matter. The fly
resembles a nuclear waste-mutated Junebug suffering
from lycanthropy. It's also so big I would probably
need a tarpon rod to cast it.
So that's out as a summer hobby. I figured then that,
since I couldn't actually build a real boat, I might
build model boats and ships. I started looking at
models of boats I like on the Internet: Chris-Craft
runabouts, the U.S.S. Constitution, stuff like that.
Model kits cost an arm and a leg and a firstborn son
thrown in. I could almost build a real boat for what
the models cost. Since most of my monthly pay is
going to the electric bill from running the
air-conditioner and copious amounts of consumable
liquids, there's no money left over for model boats.
Crochet? Ha. Whittling? I'd slice my thumb off, and
the mess is terrible, all those shavings mixed with
blood. Cooking? I've gained too much weight from
laying around on the sofa all summer already. Body
building? I've built enough body from laying around
on the sofa all summer already, thank you very much.
Now and then I go outside when it gets near dark
just to survey the ranch. I am fearful that the
vinyl siding will melt off the house, but so far
so good. I check to make sure Mocha has plenty of
water and isn't roasted. Now and then I think about
cutting the grass, but usually decide it's still
too hot. Besides, if I let it grow enough, perhaps
it'll create a canopy over my whole lot, like in
those haunted house movies, and provide perpetual
shade. At that point, the undergrowth will die off
from lack of light, and I can sell the lawnmowers
and weed eater for some cash.
If you're thinking this entire column sounds
suspiciously like it originated from the mind
of a heat stroke victim, you're probably right.
It's too stinking hot. ~ Roger