I decided to go in period costume.
Not the correct period, mind you. I went for late 1800s cowboy drag: boots, jeans, long-sleeve shirt, vest, jacket, cowboy hat. Except for the shirt, every stitch of it was black.
It was late summer, clear and sunny, with temperatures in the mid-90s.
It was amazingly hot.
But I discovered a neat little magic trick (of necessity, because I was too stubborn to do anything sensible like changing my outfit), which was that, although I kinda felt like I was walking around inside my own personal oven, if I focused my attention on other things, I could ignore the heat and pretend that I was comfortable. And after a little while, I would be. Not that I wasn't still hot, but it didn't bother me.
As long as I didn't move too quickly. If I made any sudden movements, the illusion would shatter, and I would become abruptly and acutely aware of just how incredibly unpleasant it was to be walking around in a near-zero albedo outfit and a mile less of air shielding me from the sun's radiant fury, and I would be quite unhappy until I managed to refocus my attention and restore my phantasmal comfort.
But when I was able to keep it going, the illusion became real, and I was fine.
* * *
This is my current answer to the question "so how are you?"
I think. I mean, time has no meaning during a pandemic, why should words? Am I okay? I seem to be, in general, except when I'm not. What does "okay" even mean?
Everything is terrible and on fire -- literally, for large chunks of Colorado -- I desperately miss parties and travel and going to movies and restaurants and people's houses and making long-term plans, and the near future is a vast and terrifying unknown, but on the local scale, in the local universe of the people and things I actually interact with on a regular basis, everything is... fine?
I scraped together enough gumption to start running my Star Wars game again. Work's going pretty well, and my to-do list no longer feels overwhelming. Online gaming is not as good as in-person but way better than nothing. We voted early and I'm still doing local policy stuff, so I've given myself permission to disconnect from everything political as outside my control. We have cats.
We drove out and spent the weekend with my Mom & Larry a couple weeks ago. It was really easy to avoid contact with everyone but the two of them, and it was really good to see them. The air was clear and not smoky, I made a tasty new mushroom and cauliflower recipe that's getting added to my regular repertoire, and Mom sent me home with lots of homegrown tomatoes.
Oh, and back in early September we saw goddessdster when she was in town, and had a nice picnic dinner and visit outside, so that was really good.
I'm getting ready for AGU, which instead of an opportunity to travel and see people will be a lot of deeply unsatisfying video-watching in my office at terrible times of day (there was no way for it to be anything other than lousy, given the pandemic, but the schedule is deeply sub-optimal and I'm not happy about it), but I got an oral presentation instead of a poster and I have cool science results about a very timely subject (wildfires), so that's neat.
And I'm a co-author on a paper where the research indicates that climate change may rescue a lot of bat populations threatened by white-nose disease, and that got me all choked up when I first read the results section.
So I dunno. I'm in a weird quantum superposition of chipper and depressed, calm and stressed, okay and not-okay.
I'm fine, I guess.
As long as I don't move too quickly.