Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Burning Up

Sunday. Dad calls up to talk bicycle talk. Me, I'm a commuter, recreational, radical rider. Drink and howl at the moon. Him, he's a weekend warrior - 30 miles minimum on a Saturday or Sunday morning - gotta git er' done before it gets too hot. It's true, L.A. heat is miserable. I've been living in SC for over a decade but I've never forgotten all the hazards of L.A. summers - vinyl car seat burns, melted gum on the sidewalks, the smell of evaporating urine and tar fumes. It doesn't help that there's all that damn concrete either. It absorbs sun by day and emanates it from the ground on up at night. I can't remind Dad about this though, he did after all cut down most of the trees on our lot years ago and then paved it for car space - same car that carries his primo ride to the designated L.A. bike paths, so I can't say much.

Me, I rode up Highway 9 on Saturday - taking advantage of the road closer. Man oh man, it was gorgeous up there - redwoods, quiet roads, cool air, sunny skies. I rode to Henry Cowell and pitched a lunch spot on the river. Mergansers and duck families. Too sweet for words. Here, it's easy to forget about man-induced climate catastrophe's, it all seems so far away - hurricanes in the South, heat waves in the East, idiot judges calling for more offshore oil drilling.

Dad inadvertently brings it all back into focus. Says Saturday's heat was so bad there wasn't any relief at night. No air conditioning so he had to leave the front door open and sleep on the floor. Only he couldn't get no rest. I remember nights like that - just a mattress on the ground, waking up sweaty, the sound of helicopters overhead, trains shaking the ground. The blistering heat. It worries me you know, dad's a tough bird, but he's also pushing 60. I wanna tell him Global warming is real, and it's only going to get worse. Prepare yourself I wanna say. Instead, I say he should plant some trees. He says trees need water. So do lawns I say. We leave it at that.

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