Sunday, July 15, 2012

When Even the Water Looks Hot

Even though I have an aversion to bitterly cold weather I must admit that days and days of hot and humid weather is taxing. Instead of taking a walk whenever the mood suits me I find myself selecting early morning hours and dusk for long walks. I can't imagine living in a geographic area where people think nothing of temperatures that hover near 100 degrees or above.

This hot weather alters plans, causes water shortages, bursts of electrical overloads, and addled minds. I've noticed that people cross the street without looking, cyclists forget that they have only two wheels and ride as if they had four, the libraries gain patrons, people back up without looking, movie theaters sell out their shows, frozen dinners and take outs gain in popularity, and the local meteorologists vie with AccuWeather for accuracy.

But what about the people living in homes without either fans or air conditioners? What about people in apartments without cross ventilation?

I recall my childhood apartment in the Bronx—three rooms on the first floor. On summer evenings when it was blisteringly oppressive, people sat outside until it cooled off enough to return to the apartment.

I don't recall having a fan, but I do remember my mother telling me that if I ran cold water over my ankles and wrists I'd feel cool.

My mother's friend Bea Miller soaked a cotton scarf in a bowl of ice water, wrung it out, and wrapped it around her head.

My father simply ignored the heat and picked up another book to read. The hotter the week the heavier the book.




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