One thing that comes to mind when considering things that Houstonians take for granted is air-conditioning. It seems as though all the stores and restaurants are legally set to 68 degrees. Why is that? As consumers, retailers coddle us. We have been conditioned to cry, scream, whine and bitch until we get our way.
As regular residents, however, it's a completely different story. Entering a friend's home can often be a horrifying experience. Have you ever thought your skin was going to simply melt off your bones?
What about hot showers? Am I the only one who finds it somewhat ironic that I need to take a hot shower in the morning only to step out into a completely cooled house right afterward? It probably makes no sense to any of you, but this is how I start my day. Some of you eat breakfast. Some of you read the paper (hopefully this one). Some of you take a smoke (of whichever substance you choose, naturally). I have to take a hot shower. This finally brings me to what I really wish to tell you: The water heater in my house is broken and I am going out of my mind. Have any of you actually taken a cold shower? On purpose? When you have been legally sober, I mean?
It's like torture. It's like a really mean person is throwing pins and needles at you and you have no way to defend yourself. All you can do is yell and scream like a banshee. Then your face does indeed become so hot that you need the hot water to cool off before you fall flat on your face and get a concussion.
Eventually, you tell yourself to get a grip and just bear it. You attempt to wash your hair and body with warp speed, but all of your extremities have gone numb. The soap won't lather. Suddenly you feel this heavy stone on your scalp that really turns out to be frozen shampoo.
You start crying pathetically, all the while wondering what you may have done to deserve such punishment. Your cries turn to wails, and you start shaking because of the cold. You hear hard pounding on the door and wild shrieking, only to realize that it's your mother and sister falling all over each other with gut-wrenching laughter. Finally, abused beyond belief, you give up and turn off the shower. Walking into your once-cooled home, you discover that your house has miraculously been shunted to Antarctica during your absence.
When you finally feel somewhat calm, you go downstairs to face the world with as much spunk as you can possibly muster. As you face the world (i.e. family), they stare at your with their mouths gaping wide open.
"For the love of God," your mother says, rushing to your rescue, "what in heaven's name happened to your head?"
"Yeah," your sister chimes in, "it looks like someone ran over it with a Mac truck."
So you end up going through the whole day looking and feeling like crap. Whenever anyone asks you what's wrong, you find yourself grunting in response. You've turned into a sick monster.
Please don't laugh. This has been my life for the past week. But it's all right. I know that this is all a result of a higher being. Having said that, I hope it ends soon, before I end up a martyr.
Mahmoudi, a junior French and German major, is currently seeking shelter at the YWCA. Send warm comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.