Emma, the lady across the street--the same one who threatened to do away with Murphy the cat if she caught him in her garden again--gave us her old air conditioner today. It's now installed in the window of my former bedroom, where my housemate's autistic son currently has his therapy during the day. Normally I sleep there at night on an inflatable mattress that's actually pretty comfortable. But tonight my housemate beat me to it, seeing as it's a good eight degrees cooler in there.
This heat really is like nothing I've ever experienced. Coupled with the smog, I think that a great many people are suffering--myself included. My housemate's son, however, is sleeping soundly on the bed behind me. He's part African (the first Afro-Polish Highlander in existence, my housemate likes to boast), and perhaps constitutionally more equipped to deal with the heat. Since I was there at his birth, I feel a special bond with this child. My housemate was under sedation, so my hearing his first cries through the door of the hospital room was the first that anyone who personally cared experienced of him ex utero .
He is utterly lovable. His autism makes him quite undemanding; long, quiet walks where he stares at cars and lights, and singing songs he recognizes from television cartoons, coupled with regular feeding and diaper changes make him the happiest boy you would ever meet. But I worry about his future, how he will develop and make his way through the world. My housemate is doing everything she can to give him a fighting chance.
But this is the kind of neighbourhood we're living in: when it's deadly hot someone gives us a free air conditioner. When I wanted to shave my head, our other neighbour lent me his clippers and gave us a bottle of strong, homemade Portuguese wine to boot. Complaining of the heat to my other neighbour, she offered to lend me her tent so I could sleep in the back yard. Arnie across the way gives us loaves of bread he gets from his church, and the neighbourhood kids often come around to play with the box of spare action figures I leave by the back porch.
I don't really know what I have that I could give back to anyone. Sometimes I feel so cold and detached, even in the midst of this heat wave. Our neighbours, the Bease crew, the people at church have all been extremely hospitable. I feel undeserving but grateful. And you, dear readers, who take time to read these postings, what could I ever say that is worth the inestimable value of your attention? I guess all I could say is thank you.