New Jersey July

The A/C broke in our house. Well, I don’t know if “broke” is the right word; It’s not cooling properly. It’s working, operational, turns on when it’s supposed to; It’s just not cooling. PSE&G can’t get out here ’til tomorrow so for about 24 hours the house has had no A/C in what’d I’d consider average New Jersey July heat. It’s been lightly maddening. Thankfully I have plenty of ice water and books to keep me cool and still. Also, the windows are open and the house fan’s been on all day. But I fidget. My hands sweat. The heat makes me agitated. I try to reign it in, but right now, in these conditions, it can go from 0 to runaway-train real quick.

I’m still wearing the clothes I went to bed in – FILA shorts, a old (now sleeveless) Black Flag t-shirt, I’ve had for years and years – maybe since junior or senior year of high school – A shirt I cut the sleeves from a few years ago; One side I cut pretty uniformly. The other is horrendous and choppy. I decided this morning that this is the last time I’ll be wearing it. I’ll throw it through the wash one more time and then either give it to my mom to use as a rag, or just give it away – or hell, maybe just throw it out. It is very worn out.

My body is a little sore from a beginner yoga class I took yesterday, which incenses me. It’s something I’m still trying to make peace with. The last hot class I took was in the beginning of April. Then May got busy, or I just didn’t make the time, and then before I knew it was June. And it’s not smart, especially for a non-athletically built person like me, to just jump back into hot yoga when you’ve been absent for more than a moment. So last month, I vowed to get back into the groove with beginner and restorative classes until I no longer felt sore the morning after. This to me, signifies that I am ready to try a hot class again. But as quickly as I climbed back on, I then fell off the wagon for an additional two weeks, and in pure Sisyphean fashion I’ve had to start from square one all over again. And it’s been frustrating. Especially because I haven’t quite been working out, except for my daily commute speedwalks that carry me to and from subway platforms and bus terminals. It’s doubly frustrating to me because it’s hard to do yoga, get stronger, get “good”, impress yourself only to then let it fall by the wayside and when you get back on the mat, it’s like you’re a newborn infant all over again, especially when you’ve experienced the peace, the empowerment, the inner strength of consistent practice. But now, like anything else quite frankly, I have to earn it all over again. I have to work. I need to be dedicated. Because dedication and well-intention practice and hard work cannot be faked.

I get in the habit of making a to-do list every day I’m home and have free time. And there’s always something on there. But today, in this heat, and my weird refusal to leave the house, today I find myself compelled to catching up on reading I have put on the back burner for too long. I just finished Kate Mulgrew’s “How To Forget”, which I devoured. Next up is a book from the 33 1/3 series on Jawbreaker’s 24 Hour Revenge Therapy record, written by Ronen Givony, which I picked up at Jawbreaker’s merch table when I saw them at Starland Ballroom a few months ago. I think in March. I’m not sure why but I’ve been using all my will to get myself to read rather than to watch TV. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m surrounded by TV / screens all day, when I’m at work or if it’s because I feel like no one reads anymore and in a weird way, acknowledging this, I take it up myself to make sure that I do. It’s this weird impulse to make sure I practice this dying art, perhaps similar to deliberately learning and speaking Latin.

I may go for a walk once the sun goes down. But right now, it’s too hot to do that and then come home to a house with no air conditioning. How did anyone manage heat before that glorious invention?

I’ve lately been debating the pros and cons of alcohol / common debauchery, reflecting on landmarks of my youth somehow marked by intoxicated abandon, and wondering if in fact the reason I still reluctantly cling to them is in some strange way a subconscious attempt to relive and resurrect my youth. Or perhaps less dramatically, I attempt a way to still feel connected to it, and somehow find stability and comfort, even if it means taking my hands off the wheel for awhile. But I think a tolerance has manifested that will never erode. And it’s really the tolerance of time. That is to say, those moments, in that time, at that age – will never be again. I will never again experience and live within those versions of me. They live forever, but are also lost forever and I can never claim them again. There is only now and whatever small window of the future we think we perceive – or what in fact will be. I also do think that the repercussions of a hard night of drinking hit harder as we age and this I know and have experienced, but besides that, besides that punishment. It is as if a switch has flipped. I no longer see the joy in drinking, but in acknowledging this I am simultaneously upset at admitting it to myself. I am upset at it’s truth. This past week I have opened more than one bottle of beer and choked it back, wishing I hadn’t opened it, yet consuming it since I spent the money on it. And I think this self-admission is painful for me because partying, or at least it’s justification and ethos, is what identified me for so long as a teenager and then into my early twenties. I get that it’s maturity, I get that I as a human being have the right to change, but I suppose then the reason why this thing upsets me is because without this feature, without this “will to drink”, who am I? I think it is easier to assert oneself in a public space as someone who likens to that sort of thing than it is to practice temperance. Because the truth is, I know I’m changing / have changed. It’s done. I refuse to swim against the current of my own intuition. Maybe it’s people. Maybe it’s all about who you hang out with and since my crowd has changed considerably in the past few years and I’ve become more self-sustaining, I retreat into myself and have no need to go down those roads. Or perhaps it’s that any trauma, or sadness, or emotional terror I had and needed something to numb, quell, or distract from that inner pain, has now been smoothed over by yoga, meditation, a good night’s sleep, or a good cup of coffee. Maybe it’s all about the coping mechanism. Because the truth is I feel more grounded than I have in a long time, even on my anxious days (which lately there have been a few).

Well the ice in my glass has long since melted, and I think it’s time to hit that “Publish” button for today. The sun is setting and it’s getting considerably cooler in the kitchen (which is truly saying something). I think I’ll cut myself an apple, help myself to some pecans, and settle into this Jawbreaker book so I can devour that too.

Author: Roe

30. she/her. Songwriter & Trek Punk Soul™.

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