Thursday, July 10, 2008


Last night at Zelda’s, where Andrew and I took refuge from our oven of an apartment, we overheard a woman in the booth behind us say the following in a loud voice:

“I have a theory,” (she told her companions). “You know how everyone always thinks their city is the center of the world? Well, I think Sacramento is the center of the world. No matter where you go, you always find someone who’s from Sacramento or knows someone who is.”

As someone who’d never heard of Sacramento other than linked with references to Schwarzenegger before arriving, and who regularly fields questions like “Are you near the beach?” or “Is that near L.A.?” when I mention Sacramento in former stomping grounds, I have to disagree. However, as we drank our beer and ate our pizza, Andrew and I decided that this woman is literally correct.

If Sacramento is the center of the universe, and the center of the universe (our universe, anyway) is the sun, then Sacramento is the sun. And that feels 100% on-target. With temperatures over 100 F every day—the smoke that’s dense enough to actually make it hard to breathe—the constant smell of burning—why yes, it does indeed feel like we’re on the sun.

My husband, who is—I swear—not normally this geeky, remarked this week that it feels like we’re living on the planet Tatooine, from Star Wars. Tatooine, according to the Star Wars website, “has a seemingly endless desert environment cooked by the intense energy of twin yellow suns.” I don’t know about twin suns, but if you noticed the sun a couple of days ago—blazing bright red, a huge, clearly defined, fiery disk, no doubt emblazoned with eerie color due to the smoky atmosphere—perhaps you’ll agree that Sacramento could fairly be classified as otherworldly right now. Death Valley was one location George Lucas selected as a Tatooine stand-in for filming, so the California comparison is not all that far-fetched. 

Tatooine doesn’t make for easy living these days, and really—this is awful. Ninety degrees at night? Air quality so bad you’re supposed to stay inside? Temperatures that push the thermometer I’m eyeing right now up to 115 at noon? Mosquitoes loaded with West Nile virus—but the temperature and smoke preventing their swift eradication? We’ve heard from a few bona-fide Sacramentans (including the postal worker who remarked today, “I’ve never seen Sacramento this smoky”) that conditions this horrible are not the norm, and I’ll take their word for that. In the meantime…we’re planning lots of weekend trips to break up our summer here in Tatooine. I kind of wish a weekend trip was starting right this second.

Note: The fact that this post features a Star Wars analogy suggests that the heat has finally gone to this blogger’s head. Someone get this girl a glass of ice water and some central AC.

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