Summer, Mirages, and Dog Periscopes in Los Angeles
When I hear flip-flops, I always think of summer, and Southern California. As scary as it sounds, when I was growing up, we didn’t initially have air conditioning. So it was leave open the front door, leave closed the screen door, and crank open all the windows. Didn’t help much though. Hot is hot in California. Even in Virginia, with the humidity as bad as it is today, isn’t the same as August in California.
I’d walk around the asphalt playground and feel the heat rising off it around my shins and calves. Then, the city sometimes patched cracks in the street with tar. When the summer sun hit it, it always smelled like the tar had just been laid down a few minutes ago. Hot enough to melt.
From the backseat of the car, I’d see the heat rising off the cars on the freeway. It wasn’t actually visible, but it made the air waver above the cars, sort of like what steam does. Sometimes the heat would cause mirages, too. Mostly, I would see them on the road ahead, looking like a layer of water sitting on the surface, until we reached it. I was reminded of this yesterday when I watched a Smithsonian special on the Titanic. Think of it as a layer cake. You take a slice out and you can see these layers. The layers are the different temperatures of the layers of air. For Titanic’s area, they layers were cold, and Los Angeles was, of course, hot.
I haven’t seen a mirage since I left Los Angeles. I hadn’t thought about that until I watched the special.
Summer also turns everything yellow and brown in Los Angeles. With the draught now, it’s even more so:
I used to joke that my father never needed to mow the lawn. He just let it grow tall in the backyard and then die when the summer came. It was so tall that our min-pin Bubbles had to take a leap with each step to see where she was going. Snoopy, who was a lot older, wiser, and often cranky, would just forge ahead in the grass, his curling tail poking up like a periscope. He always knew exactly where he was going, even though he couldn’t see it.
Of course, that yard was great for adventuring for us kids. When we first moved into the house, I forged through it myself, looking for treasures. I found this piece of concrete with crystals set into it — crystals was what I called it at the time. It was some kind of quartz in a yellowish-white. I also found, curiously, blue beads in the exact shade that was my favorite color. Maybe one of the reasons I like turquoise is because it was so much the opposite of the colors I grew up with!
From The Daily Prompt
Time for another Odd Trio prompt: write a post about any topic you want, in whatever form or genre, but make sure it features a slice of cake, a pair of flip-flops, and someone old and wise.