It's perhaps a failure of my memory--a not unusual even these days--but I can't remember ever having experienced a heat wave of such persistence and intensity in Southern California. It has lasted several days already, and it seems we can expect not relief today. We are fortunate to have inherited an air conditioning system in the house. I hate to use it--I don't like the quality of the air nor the consumption of energy. But these past few days it has truly been a necessity.
And it's not just the energy consumption that worries me. I'm "green" enough to be concerned, but not so "green" as to feel guilty about making life tolerable in a heat wave. No, to be honest, it's more about the money. I notice how easily my life-long anxieties are triggered by the air conditioner. It's the sound. I'm constantly aware of it, and keep wondering whether, now, at last, I can switch the damn thing off and save at least a few pennies.
The strange thing is, I worry less about the big expenses than the small, nagging ones like this one. I'll spring for the large expenses involved in maintaining the house without turning a hair. I don't beat myself up over the occasional decision to purchase a new car, nor for the trip to New York or to Europe. I take these things in stride. It's the little things, like the sound of the air conditioner or the running tap that eat at me.
Perhaps it's a matter of control: I feel I can do something about these little, daily things; the big ones are just too big for the mind to easily encompass. Interesting to note that it's the same with anger. I'm very easily provoked to disproportionate rage by the small, meaningless things--the nail that refuses to sink in just right, the wrong turn taken in the car or the ten-second delay caused by another person's bad driving. Yet I can manage the big things with relative equanimity. I reserve my "wisdom" for things that exist beyond the small circle of what my mind seems to believe--perhaps delusionally!--I can control.
Like the heat outside, perhaps, compared to the heat in the house!