LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
I love summer. But when I look at the weather map of the U.S. lately and see nothing but gold and orange and light red - highs in the 80s and 90s and above across the whole country - that scares me. I do know about heat. On hot days, my mother used to wake up before sunrise to get outside things done before the heat really took hold. Then as the sun began to pour down on my hometown in New Mexico, we'd be summoned inside to rest and wait for shade. I associate summer with shade, resting, reading, napping. Childhood and no school, of course, formed my summer expectation. And decades later, I still can't shake it. Now we are debating these rising temperatures. Did we cause them? Could we somehow correct the colors of that weather map?
Not doing too well so far - so for now, I suggest we try controlling psychic heat and turn down the volume of this hot summer. Staying in close touch every day all the time with our friends and families - what everyone is doing, wearing, even eating - seems to me an activity which is hot and which I could regulate by not doing it. There are those - our editors hate that phrase - who think we could cool down our fried brains by stepping back from the news. That's tough - and not just for obvious reasons. Many Americans registered their disapproval of what they saw on the news - the way children were being treated at the border - and that led to some changes for the children. The scandal-plagued head of the Environmental Protection Agency lost his job because millions were paying attention to the news.
But we could cool our consumption. Your NPR station is bound to be cooler than other broadcast media - somewhat less likely to yell at you, for one thing. News edited rather than performed, that might lower the temperature of your hot head. But we can't reach much beyond our own lives with this idea. And even if you are trying to stay cool, the heat beckons. Imagine a big white house with a lovely balcony. Two tall handsome people, arm in arm, cooling off looking at the view - an interlude in this Washington summer. Then he leans into her and murmurs - misquoting Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca" - we'll always have Twitter.
(SOUNDBITE OF MELODIUM'S "MY XYLOPHONE LOVES ME")
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