My ideal . . . temperature


I was in my bedroom the other day, trying to figure out the difference between astrology and astronomy. I know they are both, basically, science but I wanted the one that says when I’m going to get a nice car. All I had to go on were TV ads and a half-remembered telescope lesson. I grew frustrated and decided to choose my ideal temperature.

As a teenager, I longed for the chill of winter. I hear you, psychologists, sitting up in bed so fast your monocles fall out. “Ah,” you say, “the girl wanted snowstorms outside to match the blizzards of pubescence occurring inside.” Oh, I hear you, compadre, but you’re wrong. And don’t ever use the word pubescent again, it’s weird. The reason I wished for frost was simple. I was a Butterball. A Butterball that dreaded heat and the inherent threat of swimwear it brought. My fashion icon was our neighbour Frankie. He drove a digger. When my friends called around, a happy gang on their way to the beach, I would hide and mutter crossly that the sea is just for dorks and mermaids. Then I’d sit alone in the kitchen, sweating quietly beneath my flannel shirt and combats, opening the fridge from time to time to cool off and maybe fix myself something nice.

Now that I’m a confident* twenty-something*, I like the heat*. The only worrisome thing is that, in high summer, I come over all colonial. I grow lazy and entitled. I sit on my veranda and complain about my mangoes being too fibrous. I am careless with the servants’ feelings. In high temperatures, I am sleepy and lack ambition. If an urgent thought does manage to force its way into my head, the heat melts it down to a small and faraway concern, to be dealt with mañana.

If you think I’m getting paid in Turkish Delight by a silvery Tilda Swinton to talk about how great the cold is, you’ve got another thing coming, amigo. The truth is, I’m not mad about the cold either. When it goes below zero my skin turns from its natural golden-beige hue to an upsetting “purple with peach blotches” effect. It’s not ideal. That said, my local brothel madame once told me that of all her girls, the purple ones with peach blotches fetched the highest prices. Lord knows what prompted my conversation with Noreen about my earning potential! I guess I was hoping to boost my self-esteem. Although it was right around that dark time in my life when I developed an addiction to buying tiny glass deer on ebay . . .

My dream temperature does exist, in a climate-controlled room high in a New York city skyscraper – the room that houses Beyoncé’s digital archive. Only among shelves of data containing Queen B’s diary entries and dance videos from the 1990s on, will I be truly calm and functional. From there, at last, I will run the world.

* Untrue

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