• Pigeons congregate in the shade during London’s heat wave of 2003. Good thinking!

Since I rarely have the money to go on vacation, I welcome any event that upsets my daily routine—or, to use the current jargon, my work-life balance. Last week’s heat wave was one such event. I don’t have air conditioning in my apartment, which doubles as my workplace, so I had to reorganize my schedule in order to be out when the sun was at its most oppressive. Sure, I could have taken my laptop to an air-conditioned library, but where’s the challenge in that?

For several days I woke up just after sunrise, wrote until 10 AM, then evacuated my building till dinnertime. In the evenings, I’d try to shake off the heat and write again. The final hours of the day felt like the last leg of a marathon, an effort to exert a few more thoughts before my mind collapsed. Though I’m glad to be back on my regular schedule, I enjoyed the change of pace while it lasted.