Life of Hardin in Paraguay

Laugh as you travel through life with Josh Hardin.

Location: Spring Hill, TN, United States

Josh Hardin began writing in high school and published his first novel when he was twenty-two. He won an EPPIE award for his mystery novel "The Pride of Peacock." His non-fiction work includes "The Prayer of Faith", a book aimed at making personal prayers both powerful and effective. He has traveled widely and taught a summer philosophy course at the International University in Vienna. Hardin grew up in Tennessee and moved to Paraguay in 2006. He moved back to Tennessee in 2008.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Life of Hardin Vol. V, No. 1

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

The power went off this afternoon. There was no storm. There was no lightning. No giant albatross crashed into a transformer. No atomic sea monster (e.g., Godzilla) arose from the Paraguay River to chew the power lines.

It just went off. Poof.

Back home this would not be a big deal. Go outside if it is daytime. If it is night, light a candle. Read a book. Go to bed at 9 o’clock.

Not here. Not in Paraguay. Not in a country often called the “Green Hell.” When the power goes off here in the middle of January, you sit, in the dark, and be very, very still.

Just this week I left the frigid 40 degree weather of Tennessee and stepped off a plane into the 105 degree, 90% humidity of Asuncion. That was in the airport. That was before I even peeked my head out of the shade to test the sizzle of the sun. I rushed to a car and turned the air conditioner on. I rushed from the car to my apartment and turned on the wall-mounted A/C. It’s a good one. It can bring the temperature in my living room down to 72 degrees--if it is after 8 at night and I close the doors to the other rooms.

The only fault of this air conditioner is that it doesn’t work when the power goes out. The indoor temperature climbs five degrees in the next five minutes. In thirty minutes 80 degrees will be a memory. In an hour the mercury scrapes ninety, and I will be in a shirtless pool on the tile floor.

How does anyone get anything done in this? It is impossible to eat. Food loses flavor. Stomachs lose their appetites. I choked down my supper just to give me the energy and will to make it through the night. But I didn’t enjoy it.

No one moves. The barefoot beggar children never venture from their shady trees next to the road. Coins are molten at that temperature. Pedestrians linger in traffic, walk in the road if there is more shade, immune to the imminent threat of death. Better a few moments of cool respite before eternity than a languishing torture before. I myself, in the dark at my dinner table, try to breathe as slowly as possible for fear I might work up a sweat. I don’t blink at all.

It is too hot to think. That is evident. No thoughts occur here between the months of December and March. I am not even sure I am writing this at the moment, or if I only imagine it in the waking stupor of heat stroke.

It is too hot to bathe. Pool water smolders like a boiling pot. Cold showers are a sauna. I watered a plant on my balcony and watched it wither and die the moment the water scalded its roots.

It is too hot to have children. It is too hot to conceive children. But that gets done here anyway.

Now if you will excuse me I must go and mop the kitchen floor. It seems my wife just melted. I hope the freezer is still cold enough to solidify her again.


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