Heat waves and hotel hibernation
The climate is collapsing, temperatures are going to increase and we are all going to die slow sweaty deaths. That is people who are the most vulnerable will. This is something I think about and I am pretty sure I am not the only one. When I saw that Melbourne was going to experience a night of 30 degrees I began to panic as my home does not have air conditioning and is not well insulated. I have lived in over ten share houses and in all those places only one had air conditioning. We lived there for one year before being kicked out so the owners children could move in.
I am at a time in my life where I am finally able to admit I am not healthy and robust enough to simply ”embrace the heat” like so many non chronically ill and able bodied healthy people do and exclaim ( sometimes in an incredibly annoyingly smug way). The hot days and night spread out before me and it seemed like there was only one thing to do. One thing I had never been in a position to do before: hibernate in an air conditioned hotel room near my home so L could still get to work on Friday and i could simply stay inside the blissful oasis and keep my fair skin out of cancer inducing rays. Skin that, due to one of my post transplant meds, pits me at a 50% chance of getting skin cancer easier than most. I never loved sunshine or beaches that much anyway. I prefer the beach in winter: more romantic and gothic and brooding. I used one of those cheap hotel emails, chose a place that was by no means The Hilton but had air conditioning as one of its benefits.
Four books ( will that be enough for two night?) underwear, tooth brush and my laptop go into my back pack. Check in is 2pm, it’s 38 degrees and a hot wind is blowing. I get a taxi instead of walking the twenty minutes in a heat that would render me dizzy and on the cusp of fainting. Another expense. I know there is no way i can go to the book launch I was planning on going to this evening. I am lucky that i got my taxi to accept me. I hear later that that very night my friend Carly Findlay whose book launch I don’t go to, gets rejected flat out by the taxi driver who gives her some excuse about waiting for ”his brother” then takes other passengers. Leaving my friend in the heat that affects her health and skin condition in very adverse ways. A perfect example of the kind of everyday ablism and discrimination.
L wont be there until after work so I have the hotel room to myself for a few hours. I feel like Carly Rae Jepsen in her Party For One Music video.
The room is large and the bed is king sized on first impression. On lazing on it I find that it is actually two king single mattresses placed next to each other. I don’t mind as the room temperature is a perfect 21. I kick of my shoes, pull my books out of my bag and scatter them artfully on the bed. There is a huge wardrobe with mirror sliding doors, a small kitchen with bar fridge and plenty of floor space for dancing around in your underwear. The curtains are open and directly opposite is more apartments which doesn’t bother me as I can’t see if anyone is looking at me thanks to my cataracts so I’m blissfully oblivious.
Thanks to an actual television being in the room L and I get to witness mainstream media. We watch the last five minutes of news and it is a news story about the verdict of a 32 year old man who stabbed a 15 year old girl and prior to that had raped another teenage girl in a christian bookstore. Before the horror of this could sink in the news story that followed was a much longer one about the tennis showing a lot of happy white people cheering exuberantly. L comments in horror that the rapist man is a monster. There had been footage of the man on the television he looked like a man a healthy physically strong man. He had a shit eating kind of smile that made my flesh crawl. ”Not a monster. Just a man.” I say turning ofF the television. I feel it rising up inside of me that familiar rage that stems from feeling powerless and sad. We go and brave the hot night to get some dinner.
There on that big wide expanse of bed I read aloud to L from the book Im reading: Rage Becomes Her. The Power Of Women’s Anger. By Soraya Chemaly. I read from the section From Bedrooms To Boardrooms And Back in chapter 8 entitled There Are No Words. I read aloud the part about a case in 2017 where over 156 women stood in a courtroom and described in detail how former USA gymnastics and Michigan State University Doctor Larry Nassar had sexually abused them. The courtroom proceedings were televised and Nassar claimed it was too difficult for him to hear his victims statements. All these women had been children when Larry had sexually abused them and the girls who tried to tell any adults were dismissed. When I come to read out loud a quote by the last person to speak to the judge: Rachel Denhollander who was the first person to come forward with allegations, my voice catches and i fight back tears as I read aloud loud ”What is a little girl worth? What is a young woman worth? Nassar gets sentenced for sexual abuse on top of a prior conviction of holding child pornography that added up to over 175 years in prison. Many men do not get caught and many men do not get consequences.
I am a very fun girlfriend.
While drinking chilled white wine a random cartoon comes up in my youtube playlist and its love at first sight. The cartoon is called Bee And Puppycat. All ten episodes are available to watch and watch them all we do. Bee, a reluctant hero, becomes entangled in the adventures of a puppy (…or is he a cat?) as they travel between reality and the void of Fishbowl Space. Created by Natasha Allegri, character designer and storyboard artist for Adventure Time.
I feel an affinity for Puppycat straightaway. At the supermarket while Bee isn’t looking Puppycat gets a badass black leather jacket and puts it in the trolley. When Bee says he has to put it back on account of not having money, he throws the jacket on the supermarket floor in a petulant huff. Puppycat just wants a leather jacket so he can look as bad ass as he feels on the inside. The soundtrack is great and the episode based on a story Natasha Allegri’s mother has told her regarding where jellyfish come from is a beautiful commentary on loneliness and connection and how a lost princess can help a lonely octopus. In the first episode Puppycat is pissed that he is made to wear a cute helmet by Bee for their ride to the supermarket. I don’t want to be cute, he says angrily while wearing the truly adorable helmut. A pain I am familiar with.
Friday an interstate friend comes to visit me in the hotel room before getting their flight home. We enjoy the air con and chat about writing and failed grant applications with humour and sardonic wit. I felt like such a wealthy girl about town when the hotel room phone rang and reception informed me I had a guest and should they send them on up.
I say yes please and thank you before hanging up the phone.
The cool change hits Friday evening. L and I return home late Saturday morning. But not before I get to stand naked in the middle of the hotel room and eat a chocolate croissant.