Hot Stuffy Hug

May 17, 2006 - 12:00am -- swingbug

This may sound weird, but you know where one of my favorite places is? My car on a hot day. It's about 84 degrees outside right now, according to my handy-dandy desktop widget, anyway. My car has been parked out in front of my office all day in the sun. It's probably another 10 degrees hotter in there. I just took a break to fetch a snack, and got that lovely moment of slipping into the car and shutting the door, and letting the heat just soak into my skin. Nobody likes that but me, I think. Not at 94 degrees, anyway. It's stuffy and hot and it wraps around you like a hug. I had cracked the windows by the time I got to the grocery store down the street, of course, but I love that first moment in the warm car.

My freshman year of college, I was still living at my parents' house and commuting the 50 miles or so to and from school everyday. I didn't know anyone at UC Davis, and not being in the dorms, never really met anyone. I had the typical freshman schedule with classes at scattered times and many hours in between. Having nothing better to do, on tough days when I was lonely and homesick, I'd go out to my car in the hot, sunny parking lot and take a nap. I think that's why I like that moment when you first get into the car. It's not home exactly, but it's close.

I like to be warm though. It's a bit of an obsession. I live in an invisible bubble that 5 degrees cooler than everywhere else and I'm always trying to make up for the temperature difference. I genuinely like the weather here in the Sacramento Valley. There are entire months where I can be outside and not get the goose-bumps.

I know a cat, with whom I am quite good friends, who one-ups me on this obsession. He's been known to follow his pet person right into the shower to get warmer, and on a few notable occasions he's tried to crawl into the fireplace just to get a little bit closer to that warmth. We once had a bonding moment over a running clothes dryer. The dryer was topped with a basket full of clean laundry and only a small sliver of the warm dryer surface was available for warming cold feet and tummies. The sliver was no more than an inch or two wide, not nearly wide enough for my little friend to stretch out and nap on, but he was trying, tottering on his balance and clinging on. I moved the basket to the washer. He purred like a motor boat and stretched out across the full surface of the dryer. Then he got up, walk over to the edge of the dryer and stretched out a long paw and placed it on my chest, purring in my face, before he returned to his new warm spot on the humming dryer. "You're welcome, little friend," I told him. We understand each other, he and I.

He doesn't travel much, and I'm sure that like the majority of his species, he has no love of cars, but I bet he'd enjoy that first moment in the car along with me.

Sometimes it doesn't matter where you're going so much as how you get there.

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