Day 21

The heat shimmers out the window are starting to look like migraine auras. The stillness of the lifeless air seems to be stealing my ability to breathe. I am lightheaded and faint and wondering how any life can survive in deserts where the highs are in the twenties as opposed to “just” the tens and teens.

My lips are chapped and feel like they are bleeding out salt. The skin on my feet is actually cracking and I have little sharp pains when I take steps. I am frustrated beyond all measure that matter how much lotion I slather on, my skin can’t seem to get enough. My dried out, moisture-starved body is desperately crying out for relief and I’m about to join it, squalling like a baby wanting a cool drink.

As I write, I can feel one brave and tiny droplet of sweat attempting to fall down my neck. It’s hovering there as if afraid to fall and experience the instant evaporation that has made it’s job impossible. I feel like there is a fire imp dancing around me while calling out, “There is no cooling off. No matter how much water you drink, no matter how much fanning you do. You will not escape.”

I don’t do heat.

I’ve always been sensitive to high temperatures and am wondering once again about the wisdom of taking the road trip during summer. I keep telling myself, this was a choice. A choice to travel in search of work, a choice not to go to a homeless shelter or endlessly couch surf, a choice to try to work in a road trip with a search for a better life.

However, with my jaw throbbing with a toothache, my head aching with heat and struggling through an appalling lack of sleep, I am filled with woe and doubt.

The thermometer says it’s 106 and I want to scream, “It’s at least ten degrees hotter!”

This doesn’t feel real. I grew up in an oceanside town where I could hear the waves from our bathroom at night. The cool enveloping fog was ever present, even during the so-called summer when tourists ended up buying sweaters emblazoned with “Beautiful Santa Barbara.” We would laugh at them while secretly envying their ability to come and then go on to other places.

I suppose my itchy feet stem from that time, watching the visitors come and go, and wondering what that must be like, having money to see new places.

Speaking of travelling, after leaving Hesperia, we are on to Ramona, CA where temperatures are expected to be parallel to the same depths of hell they are currently replicating here. After a brief stay in San Diego County, we will head into the inferno that is Arizona. I have fantasies of fainting on the 4th of July and being permanently put on ice.

I think we might spend a little time in Oceanside to get the last gasp of the ocean breeze I grew up with. I feel like saying goodbye. Or yell and throw things while crying. You know, one of those.


I will abide. I will not weep, I will try still more lotion, apply my lip balm and drink my fourth jug of water. I was not made for heat, nor it for me, but while we are forced to be together I will find patience and forbearance and hopefully respite, eventually.

Glad you’re with me for the journey. (Also if you are someplace temperate I hope you will take a moment to appreciate it.)