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Monday, May 29, 2006 

Against summer

I don't care how hot it is elsewhere, here in Guelph it is 30 degrees* (feels like 38), and that is far too hot. This kind of heat is like pain; as phenomenology correctly points out, the really harmful/notable aspect of pain is not its actual "pain"ness so much as its disruption of your normal existence. Our bodies normally exist for (most of) us as something very unproblematic - they are both what we are (for one value of "are") as well as what we use to do things. Pain and illness interrupts this and takes us out of our normal relationship with our bodies. The key part of my being sick last Monday was not that I felt nauseous but that my nausea prevented me from doing anything - instead of my body being instrumental, I felt trapped in it.

Similarly, this heat renders normally uncomplicated things problematic. Shaving my face in the morning, going to the gym, wearing a backpack - all things I would do without thinking last week that are suddenly arduous. The extreme humidity (which is what boosts us up to 38 degrees) only makes things worse; you no longer have your normal body so much as you have a bag of meat attached to you that emits sweat. Sound disgusting? Well, that's why I hate summer.

(and that's not even getting into the paranoid terror of sunburn and insects!)

*(fine, if you're still stuck in the hinterlands of Fahrenheit it is 86 and with humidity feels like 100)

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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