It’s hot. Like, kinda deadly hot. Canada isn’t usually this hot for so long. We’ve been dwelling in heat and humidity for weeks and weeks now and truly I am losing my tiny mind.

MS and heat don’t go together. I think there’s something about the heat that creates brain inflammation and such awfulness and it makes my MS symptoms so dreadful! I can’t think, can’t walk, can’t see, can’t feel, and various parts of me are on work to rule. I can put up with it for a while but I am getting grumpy and besides, I worry about my cat, who basically has taken to yowling at me that I should DO something about the weather, for heaven’s sake.

The way I know it is affecting my MS is that here I am in a Starbucks set to a very chilling temperature and I am starting to feel a bit better. My brain is kicking over, like a worn out lawn-mower, revving here and there. Probably I’ll be able to find my way home soon.

I jest, but the mental confusion associated with MS flare-ups does worry me. I expect to be foggy, but milk fog is not my favourite state. I’ve been sitting like a mushy potato for weeks now, sweating into my furniture. It’s unattractive. Damp.

I don’t think I’m alone in my getting fed up with the heat – it seems to me people are letting their polite masks slip, just a bit. More beeping horns, more sirens, more shouting on the street. Unnecessary violence of the Canadian type is happening. (Less gunfire than the US, more than many other places). We are a cold weather people – unexpected heat just doesn’t fit with our clothing/hair/beards/lifestyle. Although beer…

So, as I slog through the dog days of August, I await inspiration. And once again, my spirit guides dip in, gods love them. I was waiting for the bus and a gentleman likely in his 70’s stood beside me and then went to pick up and throw out a cup some angry young man had tossed on the ground (it was a Popeye protein shake cup, so forgive my assumptions…). We chatted briefly about litter. I took his example and went to gather up a pile of newspapers in the bus stop and toss them out – he came to help me and when I said I could do it, he accused me of being stubborn. I agreed, said it was my best quality. We laughed and became friends.

As we rode on the bus together he told me he was just finishing his Masters in Adult Education from the Mount – he’d just come back from 6 months living in Mexico, teaching English. He showed me his final thesis, and hey! I was impressed with his learning (he is Greek, learned Spanish and Italian and then started this Masters), he was funny, and smart. I told him it was a good thing we’d run into each other as I was looking for encouragement for going back to school myself. I told him about the MFA in Creative Non-fiction at King’s that I’m thinking about (scared away by the price tag…), and he said – oh, you MUST do it. We agreed, laughing, that it would be good for the little grey cells. We traded names, expressed hope we’d meet up again, and parted, me with a song in my heart and a lift in my step. And a renewed sense of purpose.

Sometimes it only takes a nudge to awaken that part of me that still insists on doing something ‘meaningful’ with my time. Sometimes it takes a kindly older gentleman (I’ve been lucky enough to know a few) to smile at me and think me intelligent.

Mostly, it takes air conditioning.

Keep cool out there, overheated world. Be kind. Maybe talk to someone you don’t know. I’ve always found it worthwhile.

And three cheers to Terry (his shortened-from-the-Greek name). I hope we meet again, but even if we don’t, he’ll have a little grey cell of mine set aside in his memory.