Notes from el desierto

It’s the middle of summer and the weather is heating up. The battle against COVID has continued, with thousands of cases and swamped testing centres. The New Year has coincided with a noticeable surge in temperatures. Days have hovered in the thirties and nights have likewise been warm. This summer was predicted to be La Niña for the eastern states, with heavier rainfall than normal. December stuck to this plot; the month was unpredictable. The beginning of January, as per above, has been more settled and closer to the norm. 

No-go weather

Getting work done has been tough due to the high mercury. Finding inspiration is not as easy in warm conditions. Apart from running a fan, you must wear the thinnest tees and shorts. What happens when you’re not in the right attire? To be fair, doing anything demanding is a challenge, not just work or reading The Boys. These include household chores and even bingeing on Cobra Kai. Drinking cold beverages and chilled desserts are likewise part and parcel of the summertime. Once upon a time, the cinemas were a sure draw at this time of year. The air-con, school holidays, and summer blockbusters were a sure-fire way to beat the heat. COVID has forced people from carelessly entering the theatre; this time, they have to ‘stop, look, and listen.’

An aircon would be welcome. A few years ago, Anna (then my Chiro’s receptionist) told me that they did not have an air-con. She lived in Blacktown, where temps soared over forty degrees. My ex-neighbour told me that running an air-con is not good. He reasoned that shifting temperatures among rooms could cause a cold. I can say that, when the heat was that bad, you balk at braving ‘the desert.’ You just feel like eating ice cream or (for others) going swimming.

I remember looking for transport in Manila. We already settled for the first pedicab in line, before my mum reneged. She said, ‘It was hot.’ 

‘Get something with an air-con,’ said the jilted driver. ‘Anak ng pating. Sayang.’ (‘Son of a shark. Bummer’).

We took the next cab up. 

Meanwhile, there’s been no shortage of books this season. Since December, I’ve gone through four books: Stephen King, Indra Nooyi, Connelly, and Clare Mackintosh. While the latter was tough, the Ron Howard memoir is another heavyweight. More on them in my next reading catalogue. 

Tennis balls

In recent news, nine-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic had his visa cancelled. He had mentioned getting an exemption but was unable to prove his case. He was told to leave the country. Djokovic has been a notable anti-vaxer. This means that the Aussie summer of tennis would be without its biggest drawcard. The Joker has triumphed nine times at Melbourne since 2008. Only Nadal and Federer have broken his stranglehold at Melbourne Park. 

I also read that neither Williams sisters would be making the trip. Serena has enjoyed tremendous success in Melbourne. The awarding ceremony is filled with her appearances. Admittedly, the women’s trophy has been more egalitarian. Over the past decade, Caroline Wozniacki, Li Na, and Victoria Azarenka have all emerged victorious. The surface has changed through the years but the crowds have consistently turned up. Traditionally, the second week of action coincides with the Australia Day public holiday. Each year, play is paused for ten minutes as the fireworks steal the scene. With Victoria recording a high number of cases, how would Melbourne Park look when the going heats up? 

COVID impact

The COVID situation extends far further than the tennis court. The virus looms large over all levels of sporting leagues. Whether it’s the NBA or the Premier League, the NFL or college golf, there’s ‘no rest for the wicked.’ For instance, a few NBA teams have to fill their rosters with D-League players and 10-day signees. Lakers star LeBron James has to soldier on with a ragtag team of no-name cagers. Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers were missing their top three scorers. 

COVID has changed the Association’s complexion, with both stars and benchwarmers in and out of covid protocols. Spare a thought for unvaccinated Uncle Drew: banished from the Barclays Center, he seems destined to be a part-time player. On the brighter side, the Nets still have Durantula and Harden: two of the baddest scorers out there. 

Summer leavin’

This marks the second full summer of COVID-19. There is a new variant (Omicron) and some countries have even eased their travel restrictions. Vaccinations in our state have exceeded ninety percent, but as mentioned, testing centres are under siege. We could accept that this challenge won’t be going away anytime soon. At least we could glean that summer’s just another phase. Before we know it, we’ll be storing our shorts and linen clothes in no time.  

Rod Laver Arena (Melbourne)
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