Unseasonably Hot, or the Sex Lives of Cannibals, in which the author recounts what the author recounts

The weather has been alternating between the pleasant 90 degrees with a breeze of spring and the roasting 90 degrees without a breeze – the type of weather when you can feel the sun maliciously willing your skin to boil off your bones.

The plants need more water these days and so do I. The last few days I’ve realized that I need to start filling my never-ending coffee cup with water in between trips to the coffee pot. The heat, when it’s this fierce, is really draining.

Sunday was one of those days when everything outside looks brighter than normal. Those are the days I don’t leave the shade of the porch for fear of melting. Those are the days you remember the real reason we invented sunglasses.

These “stay in the shade” days have led me back to a habit I’d lost over while going through my Master’s program double quick: reading. Not just reading, but fun reading. I haven’t had a craving for fun reading since I learned that I wasn’t an expert in everything. This was a very disappointing revelation. And unacceptable. I have been reading historical accounts ever since. At least until I started at Simmons College in Boston which put an end to anything that might be considered “superficial” or “fun”.

So on the crispy baked shores of Grand Turk I’m returning to the pleasures of my youth…

…by reading about an island nation even more remote than the Turks and Caicos. I’ve finally gotten around to reading the Sex Lives of Cannibals. It’s a novel based on the experience of an adventurous American just out of a graduate program in International Relations. He ended up on Kiribati by searching for a meaningful and exciting existence resulting in a career of over qualified positions and near poverty. As you might imagine, I’m thoroughly enjoying his story.

Kiribati (Kir-ee-bas) is stranded in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean. I’ve become exceedingly appreciative of our proximity to Haiti and the Dominican Republic and their refreshing supply of mangoes. The island the author lives on on is 12 square miles spread out in a narrow crescent. There is not much else.

Fortunately for my guilt complex the author provides a history of the area and its politics – so: not entirely frivolous. My guilt assuaged, I sit back and enjoy the author’s delightful writing style.

p. 70 had me cracking up as my new friend Mr. Troost encountered a measly 3 ft reef shark. His reaction – or I should say OVER reaction – reminds me exactly of how I respond when circled by 3.5 ft barracudas (ha! that’s right – 3 point 5: a much more respectable size! thank you very much.) The author sputters and flails and “otherwise behave as weak and injured fish fodder” (p. 104).

I can relate to this (as readers might know) because I do the same when a barracuda sneaks up and is suddenly 3 ft off my starboard side. In my defense however, I’d like to say that I’m sensibly un-phased by by reef and nurse sharks. I am also, on the other hand, inexcusably irrational when it comes to the harmless barracuda. The difference, I believe is in the behavior. Sharks smaller than me have the good sense to swim away imbuing me with a sense of superiority. That’s right fearsome shark: tremble before my raw power! or I’ll punch you in the gills.

Knowing how to deal with sharks, should they get rambunctious, is calming; despite the simultaneous knowledge that if one of them wants to try something resistance is futile. A barracuda, by comparison, has the gall to ignore my intimidating bigger-than-you-ness. They follow you. A lot.

This is perhaps the only time I have not indulged a fellow creature’s curiosity. Empathizing with Troost’s response (and his sarcasm) had tears rolling down my cheeks. I feel you man. I feel you. This one is going into my permanent library.

And so reading and blogging was my Sunday. And recovering from my Saturday, which I have outlined but have yet to put to paper. All in good time.

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