rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,
rejectomorph
flying_blind

Heated

Despite the discomfort I feel when the closed house fills with heat, the difficulty sleeping when drenched with sweat, and the frustrations of dealing with a computer that hates the heat even more than it hates me, I do find something to enjoy in the first hot days of the year -- those few bright days before the ennui-inducing monotony of full summer sets in. Going out into the blazing sunlight, feeling it envelop me, inhaling the intensity, all bring the recollection of those languorous afternoons of late spring when the school year was drawing to a close and the anticipation of an entire season of freedom was as delicious as the year's first melons, sweet and crisp and chilled to perfection in the old Servel refrigerator which dominated the small kitchen of our hillside house.

Once released from the tyranny of the schoolroom clock with its arthritically slow and clucking hands (You were waiting for this minute to pass? Tsk . . . tsk.) the dry and dusty streets seemed fresh despite being even hotter than the stuffy school building, completely innocent of air conditioning. I would then make my way, lingering here and there where a spot of shade was provided by an acacia or a tall eucalyptus, to the small grocery store a block from my house. I would open the lid of the ice cream freezer and inhale the dense, cold fog that emanated from its depths, and reach in to select some frozen delicacy to provide a cooling snack. On the hottest days my preference was for a Freeze-ee bar, a less expensive competitor of the Popsicle. It would be raspberry (a sky blue in color) or cherry, lemon or lime or root beer. I would eat it while sitting on the porch of the old church next door to the store, savoring the contrast between the icy sweetness on my tongue and the arid heat of the sun which could even be felt radiating up from the concrete steps. The days were often so hot that the colored drops of melted ice would drip onto my hand before I could lick them from the bottom of the bar. Afterwards, there would be a stick which could be assembled with five others to form a woven square which could be flung into the air and would burst apart in an explosion of sticks on striking the ground. We were easily entertained in those days.

I don't think they make Freeze-ee bars anymore. I'm sure they still make Popsicles, but I think you have to buy them in packages of half a dozen or more. It's been ages since I've had one. Before I left Los Angeles, I would occasionally purchase a Mexican paleta from one of the pedestrian vendors who frequented our neighborhood pushing their small, highly decorated freezers on wheels. As a confection, the paletas, available in a variety of exotic flavors such as mango and papaya, were undoubtedly superior to the Freeze-ee bars, but I never enjoyed them quite as much, and as pleasant as they were, they never brought quite the relief from the heat that I got from their earlier counterparts. I suppose that, once you are grown, nothing of that sort will ever again be as intensely satisfying as it was on a hot spring afternoon when you were ten years old.
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