Friday, July 22, 2005

Can't keep the beat

I’m noticing that all the people in this house, and most of the people I’m running into in the desert, are becoming a little, well, mad. Forgetful, irritable, and just off-kilter. It happens every summer but I’ve always attributed it to conspicuous circumstances. For instance, Pete’s stage work is dead (lots of re-runs in summer). He gets the occasional TV poker game (yay), but mostly, a big bucket o' nothin’. I don’t go to conventions in summer because of that, and because the kids are out of school, so I’m not selling much art either.
That and the heat is enough to make one cranky. But, what about the insanity? Is it possible that this summer thing goes deeper? To some primal level? I’m just thinking off the cuff here, but it seems a reasonable direction. Consider the endless days and nights of Alaska. People get weirded out during those periods. Here in the desert, we’re not getting any relief from the heat, i.e., night cools us to a brisk 99 or so. Is it possible that the intense heat is mimicking light in our collective psyche, denying us our normal circadian rhythm?

I mentioned it to Ravyn yesterday. This is just the kind of thing that gets me into trouble---sending me off on some research tangent. Sigh. You can take the girl out of the laboratory…….

Even Gurtie is affected. She sat in my lap for a full minute this morning. But I can't rule out the lox factor.

Any thoughts on this one?

Have a good day, guys. Again, thoughts for friends in London. Damn.

I'm off to make art. Crazy, crazy art.


Carl V. Anderson said...

thoughts for London...and now Egypt. Guess there are worse fates then suffering through 100+ temps(its that here now too).

Derek Ash said...

Another odd parallel. This was one of the things that I always said when I was working with special needs children, ranging from autism to downs syndrome, at a grammar school about three years ago. I worked with those kids for about five years straight, and it was impossible to notice the incredible effect that the seasons had on those students in particular. Incidents of tanrums, tears, misbehaviors, and outright violence in the warmer weather went way up, while productivity and focus peaked in the colder months.

Once I had noticed it in the kids we were focused on, I started watching everyone else around me, and I realized what a drastic effect the whole distance-of-the-planet-from-the-sun thing has on people (I'm starting to get that creepy magnifying glass vibe again...) and their moods. Of course, seasonal disorders are nothing new I suppose... but it just makes you feel like a little meat puppet stuffed with a thermometor and set to explode at a certain temp.

Cheery fun in the sun.

On the topic of genetics, karyotypes, and the like, is Peter the one you mentioned somewhere here needing mice-pups for a project? In a specific condition? Because that is a key part of my current job as well.

No idea why I felt the need to bring that up.

And I'm working out my 100 words now, already thinking of synonyms for "magnify".

jordan's mom said...

The Light-Heat-SAD thingie. It certainly is fascinating to consider. If (some/most) tend to become more depressed during Dark-Cold situations, it would seem reasonable to assume that folks exposed to LOTS of Light-Heat would be hopping around flagpoles and such with joy and glee. Perhaps this is the Madness that you are seeing, Lisa. It only looks like Madness to you because you are not experiencing a commensurate amount of joy. Perhaps if you spent more time in the sun, you would feel better.

For myself, I am prone to sleeping much more during the Light-Heat times, and fantasizing quite a bit about pumpkins and frost and down quilts and such. Just this morning, my partner and I were lying in bed, discussing how we might enjoy sex again, after the weather gets cooler. As you can see, the Madness has not made its way to the mid-Atlantic region yet. And we don't even have a pool.

But try to stay hopeful. Once or twice, walking outside after 2 AM I've thought I caught a breath of October in the branches of the apple trees. It will be a good month to head east, in any event.

Derek Ash said...

Jordan's mom makes a good point, but one needs to remember that the opposite of the slow, depressive state that occurs in the dark/cold is actually offset by fast, and arousing emotions.

Arousal (or excitement) here is defined by anything that causes extreme behavior. Anger, excitement, happiness, and arousal in its more vulgar definition would all fall under this category.

So instead of weeping quielty into your pillow and then overdosing on sedatives, as you might in the winter months, you would instead burst into wild, screaming tears in a public place and run headlong into a moving vehicle, snarling and frothing all the while.

Just thought I'd put that out there.

And just a fun fact: Did you know that many children exhibiting hyper-active behaviors may actually be suffering from a slower, more depressive metabolism? Many O.T.'s argue that these kids are constantly trying to cause a state of arousal by revving up their own engines. Like when I get that crazy-knee tapping thing that happens everytime I'm really exhausted.

So basically, people around here right now are dealing with hot, tired kids (and adults) who can't get their engines running correctly.