Sally Norvell came over for drinks last night. A singer, filmmaker and actress, Sally is originally from Texas but has been living in New York and California since the 1980s. By 8:30 PM when she arrived, the temperature had dropped to a mere 95 degrees or so, so I greeted her with a kiss on the cheek and, “Welcome to hell.” She said, “You know, I’m not acclimated to this heat.” I said, “Acclimated? there’s no such thing as getting acclimated to 100+ degrees.”
That’s my opinion, anyway. Hey, I grew up here. I’ve lived through 40 or so blast furnace summers in Central Texas (No, I’m not saying I’m only 40; but I lived in LA for a few years and I was on tour for some of the other summers). What kind of person could ever get used to it and say, Hey, it’s no big deal when dashboards melt, when pavement turns into black chili, when even the squirrels are lying on the sidewalk, spread eagle, panting?
My theory is this: Texas heat causes amnesia. Otherwise, this area would be deserted forever. Not even the Comanches and Tonkawa would’ve stuck around. Those natives weren’t stupid. They weren’t here for SXSW or the cheap beer and easy access to Mexican pot, like the hippies who followed. I can see them now, hanging out in August, saying to each other, Hey, if it’s this bad next June, we’re outta here. I got a friend in LA who has access to John Ford and Howard Hawks. We could be in the movies, bro.
On the other hand, maybe they discovered Barton Springs and the laid back Austin lifestyle and just got stuck here. Lazy. Tending to the poetic and artistic. The chief needed a jumpstart on his pony and sent someone for jumper cables and they never came back. Custer stuck around here after the Civil War, when the federal army came to keep an eye on the Confederate reprobates, forerunners of Rick the Moron Perry’s proto-secessionist teabag head pals. Custer liked going down to Bouldin Creek to pick watercress for tea time sandwiches and hanging out with the kids from the deaf school to practice his sign language. I wonder if some of them played some linguistic tricks on him? Maybe that’s one reason he screwed up at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Maybe the heat fried his brain, implanting suicidal thoughts.
Who knows? I’m just guessing, but I couldn’t be far off.