The New England definition of a heat wave is three days in a row over 90. My family in Texas thinks that’s the funniest thing they’ve ever heard, since they can go for 6 months with those temperatures, but we usually only have one or two “heat waves” per summer. Well, that wast Boston; perhaps it’s different here in southern New England.
Sometimes I can’t believe that I lived in the south as long as I did; the last 2o years in New England have really changed my body’s ability to deal with heat. In a nutshell, I don’t do well with it and despise being hot. Hot from working out is different than hot from walking out the door and just standing there.
So naturally I picked today to wander around my new university to get my bearings and see about getting parking sorted out. What was I thinking? It was 95 degrees with warnings about heat and air quality, warning people to stay inside or near water or other such sensible things that I ignored. Really, you’d think I’d know better. I turned into a limp dishrag that was so glowing that I was radioactive – and all I did was walk around.
It didn’t help that I started at what was lunch break for the many construction crews in the area. Walking down the street was an exercise in discipline as I walked past rows of men sitting on concrete barriers having a smoke, chugging water, and checking out the passersby. It made me think of being a college student and having to walk past the fraternity houses where the guys would hold up numbers and rate you when you went by. I found it mortifying and humiliating then and now.
Stacy and Clinton wouldn’t have approved of my outfit – black cotton shorts and a pink cotton shirt with pink Birks – since it was comfortable but not necessarily flattering. I was aware of my ugly lumpy leg (permanently swollen after the leg got stuck going through a porch 10 years ago) and that I was walking with a lurch rather than strolling to keep my legs from rubbing together. We know what that’s like on a hot summer day, that chafing that can turn the skin into raw meat.
All of that physical and mental discomfort weren’t helped by getting dehydrated and hungry, more the first than the latter, really. I passed little carts of Thai and Mexican food but the idea of anything hot was totally unappealing. I did, however, find a Gelateria and lunch of an odd assortment of a small raspberry sorbet, a small bag of Fritos (for the salt), and a big bottle of water.
Once I found the car again and headed home, I listened to my small hot inner child and pulled into Dairy Queen, which I knew was a bad idea even as I did it. I ended up getting a small Heath-bits Blizzard which sounded really good when I ordered it, and it did taste good. But to be honest, it wasn’t all THAT good; the sorbet had been better and more refreshing. Much to my own surprise, I didn’t finish the blizzard and actually fished out the Heath bits and washed the rest down the disposal when I got home.
What did I learn today?
- Other people aren’t watching me as critically as I see myself.
- Drink the water before I need it on hot days to stay ahead of dehydration.
- Sometimes wanting isn’t the same as having – and once I figure that out, it’s okay to stop eating it.
- I hate being hot. Oh wait, I already knew that.