Hot. My car’s interior blisters. The black plastic steering wheel’s ready to melt, so I find a used napkin to protect my hands as I steer out of the parking lot toward home.Hot. Driving east on Interstate 80, Eau d’ Rotting Trash permeates the air from Spaghetti Bowl to Nugget.
Hot air blasts through my open windows, sucking the moisture from my face and armpits. The backs of my knees are damp against the seat.
Hot pulling into my driveway. Hot yanking weeds in the yard. Hot rolling rancid trashcan to the curb. Hot walking to mailbox.
Reno reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit today, tying the all-time record set five years ago.
But I am very, very careful not to tie one random toasty day to global warming. In my twisted world, that’s a recipe for, um, a heated argument. So I’ve abdicated. When one skeptical relative suggested, around Christmastime, that global warming prophet Al Gore was a poor choice to be Time’s Man of the Year, I nodded.
“Al Gore should be shot,” I said. “Or sent to Guantanamo.”
Gore went on to win an award for his documentary about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth.
Inside my home, the air conditioning is set to 76 degrees, which feels relatively Arctic Circle-esque. I check my e-mail. I left work 20 minutes ago. Someone might be trying to reach me. Yup, there’s new e-mail from NewsMax.com. I began receiving about three or four messages daily from NewsMax after once visiting Bill O’Reilly’s Web site and taking a poll. Who can resist weighing in at a pithy online poll? Not me.
“Al Gore’s Convenient Lie” reads the e-mail subject line. The message announces a new issue of NewsMax magazine (somewhat belatedly) delves into the misinformation in Gore’s year-old documentary. The magazine costs $3.95. (But subscribe today and receive a free emergency radio valued at $35!) There’s some teasing: “You’ll find out if all the talk about global warming points to a legitimate threat—or if it’s a lot of hot air.” Rather than leaving the “legitimate threat” option open, the writer cuts to the chase: The report “finds that truth is the first casualty in Gore’s apocalyptic film.”
I have to confess. I saw the film. Some damned liberal instructor forced us to watch it. I promise I paid only enough attention so that I could later mock Gore’s heartfelt sincerity, his empty patriotic and spiritual gestures. I have Gore’s book, too—but I shoplifted it so that I could throw it across the room in disgust when feeling particularly provoked.
During today’s angry toss, the book opens randomly to a section on heat waves. Since the Civil War in 1860, 20 of the 21 hottest years on record occurred within the past 25 years. The hottest year: 2005. Our home state rates two mentions: Reno set a record for 10 consecutive days at 100 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter in 2005. On July 19, 2005, Las Vegas hit 117, tying its all-time high.
I look at the bottom of the page and see that Gore obtains his lies from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Weather Service. (Full disclosure: My partner’s NWS salary covers our house payment and utility bills.) Gore’s other specious sources include Scripps Institution of Oceanography, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, peer-reviewed science journals and studies from MIT, Harvard and other universities, to name a few.
Easy enough to dismiss these profiteering conspiracy theorists.
Relieved, I crank up the air conditioning and put a sweater on. I’m not going to lie—I feel a little chilly.