Make Like a Lizard

Peruvian Wood Lizard

I have discovered that the best way to survive a hot spell in Southern California is to make like a lizard. We have neither insulation nor air conditioning in the 75-year-old apartment in which we live. All day long, the hot sun heats up the building, and the building holds the heat until just before dawn. We have fans, but use them primarily in the evening, when the inside temperature spikes.

So how does one make like a lizard? For starters, don’t be in much of a hurry—about anything. While Martine went downtown, where it is even hotter, I drove to Trader Joe’s in the Marina, put together a simple picnic lunch, and parked at the end of Mindanao Way at Chace Park. At the peninsula on which the park sits, there is always a cool breeze, a breeze that suddenly disappears a few hundred feet inland.

I sat in a shaded pavilion at a picnic table, ate my lunch, and re-read Ernest Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa. I managed to be comfortable while, in the next pavilion, a group of loud ex-con types were laughing and shouting. They made a snarky comment about my straw hat, which did not faze me because a good straw hat from Latin America is also part of making like a lizard.

Am I beginning to resemble a lizard? I don’t think so, not yet anyhow. What’s more, I have no interest in sitting atop a rock in the hot sun as lizards are wont to do. The species to which I belong seeks the shade.