Jake will never forgive me for complaining about how the altitude affected the first batch of cookies I tried to bake here. This is because I was operating without measuring spoons too, which I should have mentioned earlier in the conversation. He may be a skeptic, but where the baked goods are inconclusive, I myself know things are different at a mile elevation because I get winded putting a fitted sheet on a bed, my singing voice is still quivery and my hair looks like a crepe. I am a litmus cupcake measured out in the precision of eternity past, and I say the air pressure is too low and it’s bone dry up here.
Well, I believe in the power of positive thinking (© Mom) and playing head games with yourself. So before I moved, I tried to put eczema and static electricity out of my mind and concentrate on actually looking forward to the aridity, in the two crucial categories of Candy and Books. 2443 must have been unusually damp (which wouldn’t surprise me given its surplus of nocturnal mouth-breathers), because I never noticed another San Francisco house at that level of stickiness. Whenever I tried to save candy in that house for more than two days, it would start to slime. Elisabeth can bear witness to some of the half-decomposed sticks of viscous gum I’ve put in my mouth. Lollipops would melt down from the outside, just enough for a grainy exoskeleton of graying squishiness. Peeps you tried to cure into a nice staleness took eons to harden up. The only impervious candy was the venerable jawbreaker, which is pretty horrible as candies go. It was a trial, and so was my regular habit of deshelving all my books, fluffing them up, dusting them off, and returning them to shelves I’d wiped down with vinegar water — my best attempt at staving off Old Man Mold. Now I can rest easy with my crackling hair and ashy shins, because I know my books and my marshmallows will age naturally, turn brittle, and smell like vanilla instead of death.
Poetically, I return to sea level this weekend, but it’s East for me once again. Derek and I are flying to North Carolina to visit Mr. Butcher and see his beloved Muse perform in Charlotte (I’m just a good-sport tagalong for that last part). We’ve planned to waste several hours driving to the beach on Saturday so we can see the Atlantic (and everyone there can see Derek and Mr. Butcher stand around uncomfortably while I run into the water). I am no expert, but I’m suspicious that North Carolina will be just a little more humid than here. I’ll probably have no time to see what happens to candy there, or bake anything, but I do plan to look for architectural evidence that brick buildings can only get that nice greenish patina at lower altitudes. It’s always helpful to compare places on the basis of their brickwork.
Related: Derek’s pet peeve of the moment, besides Warriors basketball, is this trend to refer to social functions and social media as “dry” — “When your Insta is dry,” etc. — so naturally I’ve been calling things dry whenever possible, which is why This Post is Brought to You by Anna’s Pestering. I really hope it’s an absolute sauna on our trip, so I can call everything “wet” instead. Wow Derek, Butcher needs to tone down that wet British humor and try for some expression. And so on.