‘How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?’ - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


I’m really bothered. 

The air is as thick as a palm full of that homemade slime all the kids loved for a minute. Who needs to vape? Just take a deep breath. 

Parts perspire that I didn’t even realize had sweat glands and that first blast of A/C from the car vents feels like that initial gust of wind after an atomic bomb detonates. Nothing but teeth and eyeballs left sitting in my tiny fuel-efficient car. 

It feels as though I’ll spend all summer complaining about summer. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to me since I’ve been doing that for 40-something years and shouldn’t much surprise any of you because complaining is what I do best. 

ERCOT recently sent out an advisory asking Texas residents to turn their thermostats up to 78 degrees to conserve energy and avoid long-term outages like we had during the winter storms. 

78 degrees? No. Absolutely not. 

This isn’t even a kooky Libertarian reaction to someone telling me what to do, it’s simply that I can not survive the next few months at a minimum of 78 degrees. 

The world around me might not survive if I’m forced to simmer low and slow for the next 90 or so days. Heat induces rage and I’m lingering on the edge of Hulk Smash the majority of the time anyway.

I donated power to the grid during the winter so I feel justified in keeping my busted window units on all day long. Maybe I didn’t donate power but I certainly didn’t use as much as most other households.

While all of you were snug as bugs in your 73-degree cozy climates, we in my home were all knee-high socks, long johns, and hot pink Henderson Fire Department hoodies. We had blanket forts filled with warm breath and kitten heat and we took Netflix and chill super literally. When the electricity did go out we only noticed because our phones eventually died. 

We cooked all food on the grill because that added an extra bit of heat to the carport kitties’ well-padded abode and the 2nd-degree burns from a bare handful of grilled pork chop felt like Heaven because our hands were frozen. You ever tried to eat a pork chop in a blanket fort? 

If our winter sounds terrible just know that it’s worse than that but we did it and we didn’t cry. 

But I will cry over the summer. I will shed tears over the heat that’s already here and the hellfire that’s headed our way. I will whine nonstop for the next handful of months about how much I hate the heat and I will constantly question why I still live in this pot-belly stove of a state. I will bellow with dismay every time a door opens and that wave of thick hot air wafts into my office, or my house, or my car, or my soul. 

I will do all of these things but I will not turn my thermostat to 78 degrees. I’m not swayed by your taunting and I don’t feel guilty for not following the directives of a group of people that aren’t even in this state with us suffering through Mother Nature’s menopausal hot flashes. 

I will not bow to the pleas of the masses when it causes me real physical discomfort but I will cut my own nose off to spite my face. 

If I’m the reason our power grid fails again then I’ll take that on the chin and sleep in my running shower until that crisis passes but until my TV goes silent and my air conditioner screams to a stop I can not justify or convince myself that I should change my thermostat even one degree. 

Amber Lollar is the senior reporter for The Henderson News. Her e-mail address is <>. © 2021, Henderson Newspapers Inc.

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