I knew my brother was out of town. I’d seen the pictures on Instagram. It looked like he was somewhere hot, dusty, crowded, and with tents—like Coachella, sort of. I kept scrolling: waves in Peru, dogs in grass, craft beers and cuticles. I meant to send him an email, but soon the days turned into weeks and weeks turned into catching up on “Breaking Bad.” Things came up.
Then my brother rang in the middle of the day. I was lying on my back, staring at the ceiling fan, wondering if I had ever disappointed anyone as much as my fan was disappointing me. I figured, nah, but I applauded myself for asking.
DT: Hey, how’s it going? Where are you?
Unnamed Brother: It’s going well. I’m in Belgium. Just got back from Kurdistan last night.
DT: Iraq, eh? Nice. How was that?
UB: It was really interesting. 70,000 refugees poured from Syria last week and we were working with U.N. to set up various camps in 130 degree weather, so–
DT: 130 degrees? Damn. It’s actually disgustingly hot here in LA. Too hot to even drink coffee. Can you imagine that?
DT: Anyway, I’m trying out a new system to deal with the heat. By the way, do they have A/C out there or did you guys just set up the refugee camps in caves?
UB: There’s electricity in the camps and air conditioning units in every tent that the Kurdish—
DT: Lucky bastards! I’ve only got a window unit myself—that and an underperforming ceiling fan that might be the death of me. Silver Lake has never been more unlivable.
UB: Sounds rough.
DT: You can’t imagine. How was the food?
DT: That sucks. How were the chicks?
UB: Bundled up.
DT: Interesting. I gotta tell you. I had a hell of a long couple weeks at work. I’m sitting around all day listening to people pitch jokes and talk about their dogs, cars, diets. It’s exhausting. How was the work there?
UB: We started at six in the morning and usually finished around midnight. It wasn’t so much the hours that were hard, but the heat took its toll.
DT: Wow. Brutal. I can relate. As you may recall, I went to college in the desert. Sometimes it got so hot that literally the only thing we could do was strip down to bathing suits and drink tequila at an impromptu pool party. Anyway, I’ve gotta run. Great talking to you!
UB: Okay, but re—
CLICK. Do cell phones have a dial tone? I don’t know. I was the one who hung up. I just remembered that my neighbors said I could use their pool, and this heat and that pool, wait for no man.
 Although, I don’t know what my brother does or where he does it, most of the time, I’d like to believe that it’s a necessary courtesy to not attach his name to anything I claim on his behalf without his permission.