Friday, July 31, 2009

Sizzling summer

I'm back in Seattle, which oddly enough was hotter than San Salvador for the last two days - hot enough at 103 to make Seattleites grumpy and crazy in a way they won't be again until the winter rains start in November. I thought it was fine, which is proof that I've acclimated to hot weather. It helps that Saint Mary-on-the-Lake in Bellevue, where I live when I'm in the states, is right on Lake Washington. Swimming in the lake is one of the very best ways to enjoy a heat wave.

Driving around and going into stores here feels very strange. I had forgotten that streets in American suburbs, like Bellevue, are almost empty of people. Driving around I saw other cars, some joggers (not too many, it was too hot), almost no pedestrians. A startling contrast to Salvadoran streets which are always full of people, mini-restaurants, sellers of gum and blankets and cell phone covers and artesania, dogs, parked cars. In the supermarket, the gleaming array of 34 different varieties of anything you can imagine was startling because so many varieties had appeared that I'd never seen before - new shampoos in elegantly shaped bottles, new kinds of soft drinks, new magazines, all of which seem to have blossomed during the severest economic crisis in a generation. I'm struck by the overpowering display of goods. It feels excessive, out of control, as if all we can corporately imagine doing is dreaming up yet one more variety of yet one more product.

All of which made it very good to get back to the clean simplicities of Lake Washington.

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