In my desire to practice more writing this summer, I took the opportunity to take notice of my surroundings in a quiet moment and create a little piece of prose.
I park the car in the lot under a shady tree, open the windows and turn off the engine, cutting off the supply of conditioned air that escapes the vents. It’s only for a few minutes, and I want to stave off the necessity of paying the obnoxious cost of gasoline. And, I’d like to do my share to protect the environment.
But really, I want to save gas.
Sticking my left arm out of the window, hoping for even a single degree of cooler air to wash over my skin, I sit and wait for the time to pass. The air is thick and hot, reminiscent of the muggy heat of the south.
Plink. Plink. Pause.
A few errant drops of water land on my forearm, now just barely cool from their long descent from the heavens. It’s a pinpoint of respite from the squeeze of heat.
Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink.
As the raindrops hasten, a slight waft of cooler air encircles my torso through the open windows, which is begging for a brief moment away from the pressing heat. Why is the A/C not on? The button is right there!
It’s summer in New York. Even the shade of a tree doesn’t help much. My body cries for air conditioning, but I don’t want to move to go inside, nor do I want to leave my engine running, like the guzzler next to me. So, I make a temporary home in the heat.
I look left and skyward and a melange of green leafiness clutches an overhead cable, spiraling and vining, stabilizing itself to withstand the increased movement of air. The verdant canopy flaps aimlessly before settling again into stillness.
My open windows allow the plinking raindrops to mottle the black leather inside the door. I can smell the increasing humidity as the rain splatters, turning the door into a transparent Jackson Pollock painting. I don’t bother to wipe it off, because as soon as the rain stops, it will vaporize in the heat. The windshield resembles a failed attempt at pointillism, waiting to be pushed away by my ever-capable wiper blades.
Even though my logic brain demands that I close the windows and blast the A/C, my stubborn conservationist nature persists as my torso sinks further into the driver’s seat. A prayer for a stronger air current is whispered.
My body begins to adjust to the heat, the breeze, the plinks, yielding to a moment in the quiet cocoon of summer’s fever. Soon enough, it will be broken when my tired adolescent opens the car door. In that moment, the engine will whirr, the windows will close, and the air conditioning will restore the clarity of cool air. The conservationist will relent, conceding defeat, since no one else in their right mind would tolerate such foolishness.
Plink. Plink. Pause.
The brief spatter of the summer shower recedes as the car door closes. It’s like the universe acknowledged my desire to protect the earth (and my wallet) and for that moment, gave me a little heavenly gift in return.
Just as I pull away from my shaded lot spot, nature’s aspiring attempt at stippled art is wiped away, and the day resumes apace. The comfort of air conditioning wins the day.