Thursday, August 10, 2017

Gimme Swelter

"It's as though a giant cloche has been placed over the whole region, like God is playing molecular gastronomy and we are her smoked langoustine cotton candy duck balloons."  Lindy West in the NY Times
People, this has been just ridiculous: the combination of a historical record-breaking streak of no rain, a string of hot hot temperatures, and waves of wildfire smoke drifting in from Canada and then hanging here, trapped by a pool of stagnant air over the Pacific, has left us over the last two weeks with a miasma of gritty air, murky gray skies, and temperatures that just won't cool off at night.

On the bright side, so to speak, we've had some spectacular post-apocalyptic sunsets!

And in a great stroke of luck for me, these two weeks were also the exact same time period that I had planned to buckle down and study for a licensing exam required by my job.  A test -- what could be more fun in the middle of August!  So while the city sizzled outside, I stayed late into the evening every night in my office, where the air conditioning shut off at 6:00, but then, ahhh, came back on at 7:00.  I turned my back on the smoky skies and fireball sunsets and memorized leading economic indicators, practiced calculating net interest cost, diagrammed swaps, and pondered the complexities of monetary policy.  I managed to make it to hip hop several times because, air conditioning, and I went to the free gym in my office building to move heavy weights up and down because, likewise, air conditioning, but mostly I stared at my computer monitor and ate sushi.

And it occurred to me that studying for an important test is a lot like training for a ski race, albeit on a much accelerated schedule: you figure out your strengths, you work on your weaknesses, you research what the actual race, I mean test, conditions will be like, you try to continue to eat well and sleep enough and stretch and stay positive.

And then the big day comes, and you have your hoping-to-finish goal, your realistic goal, and your stretch goal.  For me, that day was today, and just like in most ski races, I didn't quite have the result I was hoping for.  I passed (finished), no problem, but I was hoping for a little better score (time).  Oh, well, I'm smarter now than I was last week, and best of all, the studying is done, the heat wave looks like it's going to break this weekend (did someone say RAIN??), and I can get back to my middle-aged athlete alter-ego.  Summer isn't getting any younger, and other women in my age group are training harder than I am and bragging about it on Facebook.  My trail shoes miss me, my bike is stale, my roller skis are dusty.  Time to get back in motion!

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