Rolling Oven

As I drive Southwest on 395 from Spokane towards Portland, cool air conditioning blows in my face. The hair on my arms stands up with goose bumps. Yet the sun blazes down on my left arm, and despite the sunscreen I put on this morning, I keep wishing I’d worn a light long sleeved shirt to cover my already spotted arm.

The sun’s heat beats in through the window, and it’s only 11:00 am. I look at the temperature gauge in the car and it reads 92 degrees.

As the day rolls on, and I cover more ground over black tarred roads, the number climbs to 100+.

My mind begins scrambling the details of my upcoming trip in my “new” 1982 VW Vanogan Camper Van that has no air conditioning.

I start to talk to myself in my head. “Are you out of your fucking mind, Diane?” You’re a 54-year-old menopausal woman who hot flashes and you’re going to be stuck (by your own choice) in a tin can that’s going to heat up and you will feel like you’re going to explode like a tiny bomb? What were you thinking?”

I love my comforts. Most of my life I’ve spent making myself physically comfortable with all of the right creams, the clothes to keep me just warm enough or cool enough. Hats to protect me from the sun, shoes with the right arch support.

Las summer we had a wicked heat wave in Spokane and I spent the summer sleeping in the basement where all of the walls are made out of stone.

Oh. My. God.

It’s all I can think. In one month I will be leaving my comforts to hit the road in a tiny torture chamber to trundle down the road like a turtle on the freeway.

My mind scrabbles for solutions.

“I will go North. Glacier. Canada. I’m going to research where it’s the coolest in the summer.”

I’m not worried about being alone, about breaking down, not worried that some psycho guy is going to attack me out in the woods. No, all I can think about is how hot I’ll be. How I will bake like a potato in this rolling oven and become soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.

I have to calm myself down. At the next rest stop I grab a light weight T-Shirt and cover my left arm to save my skin from the beating sun. As I pull that T-shirt from my bag, I realize I have packed for 6 days what I will probably be able to take for the entire summer, but that’s another story!