Playing House in a Heatwave
It’s the hottest day of the year and I’m alone in a strange man’s house.
Well, he’s not that strange. I’ve known him for a month. We met on Coffee Meets Bagel. We’ve seen each other every weekend since, and I agreed to watch his goofy, unbelievably sweet Bernese Mountain Doodle while he’s on an East Coast work trip. We both nervously anticipated the trip, him because he’s never had someone stay in his home when he’s not there, and me because I wasn’t sure I could exercise the restraint not to redecorate it or burn it down in his absence (so far, success on both accounts). Also, the month after meeting someone is really bizarre, especially with this new intentional “getting to know you” plan I’m working. I like him enough to be here but I don’t really know him.
So the situation was already weird. Then the weather forecast came in. It was going to be hot.
The Bay Area during a heat wave is a twilight zone. We are just not accustomed to 80° or 90° temperatures. The whole metro area seems to slow down and slump over. There are no air conditioners at restaurants or bookstores. Our homes become saunas and offices are sweat lodges. The pace of life screeches to a halt.
Normally we worry about getting too cold, this Berkeley Hills patio enshrouded in 60 degree fog or maybe, maybe a 70-something and sunny few hours in the afternoon. Normally we don’t get sunsets like this…
…while it’s so hot we’re all sweating through our skivvies.
I admit, I rather enjoy the heat. I like how it slows the hustle, encourages us to relax and just “be” for a while. I like how it reminds me of Hudson Valley summers, the sun beating down on grassy yards, swatting at bugs and neighbor kids and boys I had crushes on. I like how it makes everything feel different; thicker and more fertile.
After a few days here, that slow, pregnant pace has gotten to my head. It’s been a deep, 5-day long, heated meditation. I’m getting used to the drawl and starting to daydream about what life would be like here — working in the yard and making meals for friends and coming home to this view. Imagining retiring nightly in the darkness overlooking the twinkling Bay Bridge beside a man with strong arms. I think I may not hate it.
I am in no rush to leave my own magical apartment, and I’m a particular pain in the ass to live with because I like everything just so. But it’s kind of nice to consider this alternate reality. I’ve gotten the chance to inhabit the space on my own, not just in relation to someone else. It’s different being here without him. When we’re here together, my focus is on him and I can’t properly study the space. Alone, I’m able to give it my full attention, listen to what it whispers, imagine what it would be like over time. Our homes are narratives of ourselves in so many ways. Did I stumble onto something? Maybe everyone should house sit before considering living with partner.
I don’t know if that’s where we’re heading. It’s a reverie at this point. But I can’t think of a better place to spend the hottest weekend of the year than scantily clad with this beautiful view and an abundance of space to dream.