A lesser-known fact about me: I have a weird obsession with disaster/end of the world movies. My fascination has a lot less to do with the special effects and much more to do with the broader message: SURVIVAL. When I watch these movies (28 Days Later is my favorite movie) I get so much more caught up in the plot than other genres because as I'm watching the characters make multiple impossible life-or-death decisions, I like to think, "What would I do? Would I be able to make the best decision in a split second?". It mostly boils down to me questioning my ability/being fit to survive. Maybe it's a primal urge to continually plot the best way to survive every disaster, maybe I just have a little too much paranoia for my own good. Sometimes I even fancy that I would have made a good soldier/military leader because of my amazing skills at seeing a situation for what it is and knowing what to do. There's even a zombie invasion plan (in humor) between my husband and I! So I watch the movies and feel all satisfied at the end that yes, indeed, I could somehow survive a zombie invasion/ plague/ deep impact/ sinking ship/ unrealistic severe and varied weather pattern/ alien invasion. Maybe even a little cocky, because that's what my Aries people do. Then reality gives me an itty bitty opportunity to prove my worthiness to survive, and I whine like a child.
This opportunity came in the form of the air conditioning breaking down today. I am definitely a born and raised southern woman, but that doesn't mean that I have EVER acclimated to the heat and humidity. The heat index was 108 degrees today and absolutely miserable. Our air conditioning doesn't work the best anyway, but I deal by just not moving after 4:00 in the afternoon and staying in a nightshirt all day. Yes, I said I hang around the house in a nightshirt all day....mwhat? No one sees me but my babies during the day, so I might as well stay cool. As the magic hour (the hottest and the whiniest for our kids) approached today, I noticed that it was warmer in here than usual, but attributed it to the extreme heat outside and turned the tower fan on. My husband went to work at 4:00 and I got the bottle ready for the baby, who was about to wake up and be thirsty. Right on time, the baby wakes up ready to eat, so I put her in my arms and started feeding her the bottle while her little head was making some major sweatiness on my arm. It's okay though, she's hot natured like me. About halfway through the bottle I heard a small pop and then smelled an electrical heat smell that dissipated quickly. Racing through the house, baby in arms and toddler in tow, I start sniffing every room of the house trying to locate the possible electrical fire while the toddler starts snorting, trying to mimic my deep inhalations. "Whatcha doin', Mommy? Do you smell poop? I don't smell poop, because Milo uses the box." Milo is our cat. "No baby, I'm trying to figure out a smell." The spider senses that I acquired while pregnant never quite went away, so there's a 'no smell or sound left behind' kind of thing in our house. If I smell or hear something, I have to investigate like a mama bear, to make sure my cubs are in no danger. Seeing there is no immediate threat of fire, I start to calm down until I realized what that pop must have been. Quickly the toddler runs to the nearest vent and announces "Uh oh Mommy, it's not cold! Did you turn the heat on? Or is the air broke?" At this point the thermostat is reading 86 degrees and I move into a panic quickly, knowing that 5:00 is approaching and it's about to be the hottest part of the day (the front of our house faces west). I started gathering the diaper bag and getting all the kid stuff so we could go to my grandmother's house and cool off a little and eat some fast food for supper...I was NOT going to attempt cooking in this house. As we're driving down the road enjoying the air conditioning in the car I was thinking "Whew! I sure am glad to be in this car, cooling off and on my way to a house with a functioning unit. Even if Mamaw and Papaw don't run the unit anywhere near cool enough, it's better than nothing."
WHAT? Did I really just think that to myself? Not that it's an unreasonable thought, we are in the southern heat, after all. But after thinking so highly of my survival skills, I found myself feeling knocked down a peg and a little sheepish. All this time I've been so proud of my possible survival skills for impossible situations where there is no electricity, phone, grocery store, government, law enforcement, hospitals, you name it. I thought I could survive a freakin meteor impacting the earth, and here I am whining over something as small as no air conditioning. How humbling, to realize how cocky and ridiculous I've been. This started a brand new, more realistic thought process about myself. Here goes.
I like to be comfortable. This means complete climate control, no restrictive clothing, plush couch to sit on, soft sheets, even keeping my hair longer for the express purpose of being able to keep a ponytail so my neck doesn't get tickled or itchy from my hair touching it. I am a wuss for pain or discomfort, Gevalia is the only coffee my palate prefers, and I don't like the experience of being pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I was excited both times because I knew that the end result would more than worth the discomfort (heartburn, back pain, leg cramps, insomnia, you know) and I was happy to have life inside of me, but that didn't make me any less whiny. So human adaptation has a place for my kind, huh? I guess we'll wait and see. Until then, I'll make like my Mississippi-born grandparents and turn on the fans, put a cold washcloth on my face, and live on sweet tea and tater salad. There's a reason that sweet tea is the drink of the south...it's tastier than a sports drink and does almost the same thing. Come to think of it, never in my life has anything been able to quench my thirst when I'm hot like an ice-cold glass of perfectly brewed sweet tea and knowing that there's a whole gallon pitcher of it in my fridge. So I'll take baby steps toward upping my ability to survive adverse conditions, one glass at a time. Thank you, southern people that came before me, for coming up with ways to stay cool and keep your sanity, my gratitude for your beverages and fans is neverending.