This week, civil right erode as transit police in the NYC subway stop riders randomly and search them. Officials interviewed in the newspaper admit this deters no one from blowing you up but the officials are very concerned they appear to be doing something. I hate to mention the obvious but chances are very, very good that unless you’re a special human being with a fascinating story or were in the English class under the chem lab in Franklin High School when I poured hydrochloric acid down the pipes, you have probably never been blown up. Since you’ve never gone BOOM!, you, my friend, should get yourself a refreshing beverage, a lawn chair and a front row seat on the Minimally Air Conditioned Life.
Sure, I sleep with the air conditioner on, but I’m old now, thoroughly employed and you try getting up before six a.m. without at least a few hours’ uninterrupted sleep. In the summer of 1982, I was 19, living with the teen boyfriend in some rock and roll radio, blisteringly hot fantasy life – which of course crashes and burns in contact with any kind of reality – in an airless attic room without actual walls in a Manchester, Connecticut four-family house with a bunch of rent boys and landscapers. Some nights, it was so hot in the attic we could barely breathe but we were young, supple and crazy in love. To this day, breaking a sweat reminds me of flesh against flesh, and I sweat just a little more.
Time passes. I love and will miss the apartment when I move; I like my windows wide open. Blocks away, drums beat the sweltering air. One afternoon, Paulie Gonzalez and I have pretty spectacular sex, which if you’re a member of my family you should put right OUT of your mind, and if you’re Sharkey, who is completely immune to my overwhelming animal magentism, you should not hurt yourself guffawing. So afterwards, Paulie and I sprawl all over the bed, the floor, the wall, the printer shelf – which has kind of sharp corners and naked, sweaty you should in my opinion avoid finding yourself pressed up against it even briefly so you don’t later find the blurry words “Hewlett Packard” pressed into your ass – panting and sweating like marathon runners at the twenty-fifth mile and trying to catch our breath.
Paulie: This may sound stupid but do you hear music?
Tata: You’re busy saving the world from hackers yearround so you don’t know in the summer we’re infested with a high school marching band.
Today, my living room is festooned with a gorgeous bouquet of succulent green basil. New Brunswick sweats under a soporific haze and a carmine volcanic dust sunset, the result of Mount Saint Helens’ ash-producing events. Hearty smells of grilled meats, pungent sauces and afternoon heat waft over a city helpless to resist them. Yesterday, as I parked my car after the baptismal visit to church, a smooth, vibrant man with a generous head of curly black hair and without a shirt passed me with a huge lizard casually held over his head as one would carry a tray of creme brulee through a packed Manattan bistro. I thought, ‘Ta, that is a reason to live.’
I hope you’ll turn off the TV or computer and go outside into sun- or moonlight, even in a soaking rain. Jump in puddles; it’s great fun to squish mud between your toes. Now is no time to cower in your air conditioned nightmares. Work up a divine sweat. Go outside and fall in love with your life.