IT IS HOT.

Even my hair is hot.

When I put on my tie it feels like I am wearing a cat around my neck. I don't put on my jacket because that would make me sweat. So I carry it over my arm and the arm sweats.

The lane lines in the street have gone all floppy, and your heels stick to the macadam so you keep thinking you have stepped in some gum.

Walking into an air- conditioned building, people tend to smile unconsciously. It is not really a smile, it is just the face relaxing, like when you walk past St. Peter and he gives you a little salute and waves you in.

Coming out, it is like having a vast dog breathe on you. My arms bead up while I watch, but I can't watch until I take off my glasses. They are fogged.

What shall we do this evening?

Get on the lazy Susan in front of the air conditioner and twirl?

Sit on the back porch and bang on the outdoor thermometer because it reads 96 and it can't be 96 at 9 o'clock at night when it was only 95 at 8 o'clock?

Play with the dog? The dog doesn't want to play. She is lying under the azalea bush in a little basin she dug and she is laughing at us with her tongue out.

What shall we have for dinner? Tomato salad, that's always nice. The tomatoes have been sitting on the windowsill getting a tan. They are hot. The lettuce isn't hot, but it is tired.

How can lettuce get tired just lounging there in a nice cool drawer in the refrigerator all day? That is a silly vegetable.

Here I am, getting mad at the lettuce. The Greek meltemia has been known to drive people insane, you know. The meltemia is a wind. We could use a little wind right now, even a 96-degree wind.

I don't know, though, did you ever stand in front of the other end of an air conditioner? Maybe hot weather is caused by thousands of people blowing the hot air out of their houses and onto the street. Maybe if everyone turned off his air conditioner there wouldn't be any hot weather.

Look at winter. Nobody uses his air conditioner in winter, and winter is nice and cool. Think about it.

My air conditioner has an arrangement on it that lets it decide whether I am hot or not. This is supposed to save electricity, but actually it is just one more example of how machines are taking over. I mean, how can it possibly know when I need it? I am supposed to lie thrashing and tossing on the bed until it condescends to kick in? Outrageous.

It has voices, too. You listen to it long enough, you hear people talking in there, and sometimes band music. It seems to like swing. I figure this means either it has driven me crazy with the meltemia effect or it needs oil.

(Did you ever try to oil an air conditioner? Where do you put it?)

Now it is 5 in the morning and I might as well get up. It looks quite pleasant outside, and the birds are all excited. The outdoor thermometer says 82, so it does work after all.

Fine, 82 is nothing, 82 is almost cool.

And pretty soon the sun will come up. Yes.