Locking Great Aunt Bertha in the Attic

I’ve noticed the more extreme the situation, the more apt I am to use clichés.

All I can say is it is hotter’n’hell and there’s a reason Great Aunt Bertha went insane and had to be locked in the attic.

I am near tears with the misery of this heat and the indignities of menopause.

The lack of air conditioning in my life means I’m focusing on one minute at a time – what I can do to get through the next 60 seconds.

When I left the house this morning, it was 80 degrees at 8:45 a.m. It was 94 when I left work. Besides hot, the area around me is water logged and continues to be under threat of violent thunderstorms. These storms rundle through with great crashes of thunder and lightening. The temperature drops 10 to 15 degrees and then ratchets right back up, more humid than ever. The weather people mutter about stalled fronts and whatnot.

Gills would come in handy about now. I don’t know the biomechanics of such, but I’m certain the body’s processing of a cup of water or so to every breath must entail some wear and tear on the lungs. More than likely, it increases body temperature.

It is only June. This sort of meteorological nightmare shouldn’t emerge until late July or August. If I try to imagine a whole summer of this, I may start screaming and never stop. 60 seconds of life at a time in this heat is all I can manage.

According to all manner of happiness experts, one moment at a time is the best way to live life under any circumstance. I am whining one moment at a time. This is probably not what they meant.

Periodically, I stop to cogitate on how for most of history folks lived without air conditioning and how for a good couple hundred years they did so while wearing a lot of clothes. I keep telling myself I should be thankful that I can strip down to bare skin while refreshing the Weather Channel website in hopes that an updated forecast promising unseasonably cool temperatures will appear.

When my grandmother went through menopause, air conditioning was unheard of and she was forced by societal norms to wear a heap of clothes – bras and girdles and hosiery and slips and gloves and all manner of layers of fabric. In the era before hers, long sleeves and long skirts were de rigueur.

Novels and stories abound about women locked in attics because they went insane and their people had to do something with them. While I don’t know for certain that menopausal women wearing a lot of clothes went crazy and had to be locked in the attic lest they run through town naked and raving was ever a norm, the idea doesn’t seem too far fetched. I do wonder where they got the energy to run.

The big white floor fan and the ceiling fans are the only reason I haven’t been locked in an attic. Well, that and the fact that I don’t have an attic and there’s nobody here to witness my madness.

Thunder has moved into the neighborhood while I wrote this. The temperature inside the house has decreased by a degree or so. I can feel the air freshening. Perhaps, I won’t wake in a pool of sweat later in the night and, even better, maybe I’ll sleep through the night. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the storm that drives the stalled front out of here.

For the next 60 seconds, I will hope and focus on the maybes.

6 Comments

Filed under June 2010

6 responses to “Locking Great Aunt Bertha in the Attic

  1. I completely understand this. I cannot tolerate the heat either, and yesterday’s soggy oppressive temps were awful. Ice, remember ice.

    On another note, can we talk about “The Rest Cure” and The Yellow Wallpaper….talk about some scary literature. But that was real, and still sometimes seems like it’s not entirely gone when it comes to people getting nervous about women thinking too much.

    • Thanks for referencing The Yellow Wallpaper (which was autobiographical if I recall correctly). I was going to reference that story and couldn’t remember the name of it. And, of course, I was too hot to go look it up.

      It’s almost pleasant in the house right now. I need to get up and dress for work, but I’m awfully comfortable here on the sofa.

  2. Roseann

    Weather here has been ‘open window’ warm rather than run the AC hot and humid. And a good thing because I had one of the living room windows at the shop being repaired. Today, the forecast is for 88 degrees and I’ve got the window back in place and the house closed up. It did rain last night but the humidity has hatched a hailstorm of mosquitoes. There are clouds of them swirling around the perimeters. I had to spray just to let the dogs out. But my mind does track you down that path of yesteryear and I wonder; how did they survive???

  3. SagaciousHillbilly

    hint: fans and underwear. . . or no underwear.

  4. Connie, if you can afford about $300, you can buy these things called spot air conditioners. They work really well–just plug it in and empty the drain pan every now and then. You can move it with you from room to room. It would be absolutely redemptive with the weather conditions we’re having this week. You can get them from Global industrial–when we ordered one online at work it was here in about 2 days.

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