Going Gauguin

It’s sweltering hot and humid in Toronto these days.

I’m still keeping to my vow of going without AC this summer (or rather until the temperature reaches 28,5 C/83 F inside). And yes, I’m still working on the second part of the vow of not sounding holier-than-thou when I talk about it.

If some of you wanted to read that life without AC is “business as usual”, just at a higher temperature, this blog-post will disappoint. Business as usual would not adequately describe me as I sit here in front of my computer, struggling to meet a deadline, red-eyed from late nights working and simultaneously feeling tiny drops of sweat breaking out in places I don’t want to mention.

It was my current way of dressing – a sarong wrapped in whatever way leaves more room for air too move around – that prompted my husband to describe what I’m doing as “Going Gauguin”.  Gauguin however never wore a sarong. He certainly had to bear the heat of Tahiti, but “going Gauguin” if we read his diaries from NoaNoa correctly, doesn’t as much mean looking and living like a Tahitian as it means enjoying looking at the Tahitians.

Normally I wouldn’t have quite as much the need of ” taking up Tahitian customs” in order to survive the heat. Living in a 4-story Victorian house offers great natural air-conditioning opportunities.

Basically the temperature drops by 10 degrees C when you go from the top floor to the basement. Working from home, I’d usually just transfer what I need to the laptop and get downstairs.

In the past weeks this has been impossible. For one, we have house guests in the basement and I’ve felt that  using that space for work, would have been intruding on their privacy. The second thing is that my portable computer has been under extreme strain from a vicious virus-attack and had to go to the shop for a good 10 days. So I’ve been confined to working at my workstation upstairs, with an abnormally big workload.

Now, if I believed in a primitive God who puts people through terrible tests, the past 2 weeks probably would have been categorized under “God testing me“. However, since I don’t, I’ve taken a more proactive approach to surviving the heat – sometimes even enjoying what comes with it:

The heat is a wonderful excuse not to cook

We’ve gone on an almost raw-food diet, and raw food takes a lot less time to prepare. I’ve stopped baking bread, and since my family is spoilt and have become accustomed to my bread-making, they only eat small amounts of whatever bread we buy. Atkins would be proud of us!

Short cold showers are no not a punishment for dirty thoughts, but a joy (and necessary precondition for any kind of intercourse – pun intended)

Really, cold water, whether it’s the glass on my desk I keep filling up, or the stuff I splash on my face, or shower in 6-7 times a day, is a life-giver. And drinking all this water is great for my digestion, my skin, and if weight-loss had been among my dreams, water is conducive to losing pounds effortlessly.

Wearing a sarong really gives me a feeling of summer, of feeling the seasons, almost like when I was a small child

Doing without a bra is part of that return to my childhood, and one that I I’m enjoying quite unexpectedly.

Taking a nap when the going gets tough is a true blessing

Since my work knows no summer closure, assignments are usually abundant in July – August. High temperatures are not conducive to high productivity, and if I ever doubted that, this year has provided proof. But I love being able to take a quick cold shower and then take a nap in the middle of the day, like I used to when my daughters were little, in Italy. Sleeping for an hour or two during the hottest segment of the day, gives me the energy to work at night when the wonderful evening breezes come around.

Having said all that, I admit to wanting the heat wave to pass, and I yearn for it to happen. I will also look at a few more things I can do to keep the heat out of my house during the day, looking here for advice.

But in the meantime, I really try to enjoy what there is to enjoy about being immersed in “natural” heat.


~ by Hege on August 4, 2010.

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