even in the shade, that poor popsicle had no chance. those sweet ice crystals caved, gave in to the sultry stiff surroundings, the air that would not move, the breeze that would not be. those ice crystals succumbed.
yup, it’s hot all right. gettin’ hotter in the days to come. weather map tells me. but so, too, do the birds that’ve run for cover. it’s still out there this morning. not much is moving. it’s like that when the hot is coming.
but then, it’s august. august, the season that defies description in the hot department. metaphor heaped on metaphor. all us mortals trying like anything to describe how hot it is.
so hot old ladies take to sitting in their brassieres, hope that no one’s watching. and old men, not caring, plunk down on porches with their bellies bare, for all the world to see. and if there’s a plug, there’s a fan, and those old men are right beside it, chest hairs blowing in the plugged-in wind.
so hot even the tomatoes are begging for a break. come pluck me, please, i’m roasting. and the only redemption in the garden is that you get to turn on the hose, stand there like a fool, pretend you’re hard at work when really all you’re doing is making sure your toes get right in the way of falling water, get doused.
so hot you stick to your seat, and the backs of your thighs let out a little yelp when at last you shove away from the table, attempt to shuffle on to just another seat on the other side of the room. not much real moving going on when the heat’s on. mostly just some shuffling around the checkerboard that is your suddenly sedentary life.
you get the point. but isn’t it a delightful game to play while watching mercury rise, hover up there where the triple digits kick in? i highly recommend it.
once you’ve brushed up on all your so-hot metaphors, you’ll need some strategies, if you’ve any hope of getting to the other side of august. and since we’re all-purpose here, we’ve got some tried-and-true ideas for heat survival.
oh, before i get too far, i should mention my credentials. you wouldn’t take this hot squad, i know, from just any sucker strolling down the steamy sidewalk with a megaphone and a placard.
i am the real deal, i tell you. i birthed a baby on the hottest night in the history of one august. it was so hot they wouldn’t let us out for a couple days. so hot they had to cool the colostrum when it came squirting out. just kidding. but, oh, what a metaphor. these metaphors just shoot me to the moon. cool moon, besides.
all right, now that it’s been established that i know of which i speak–no one needs further convincing, do they?–let’s move on to where i cough up the birthing mama’s guide to pushing through the burn.
hmm. that does have a bit of an obstetric ring to it, but trust me, those days are done, this is all about the hot spell that is barreling across the country, even as i sit and burn my tongue on this hot, hot coffee.
i’d say the europeans have the brightest idea for what to do with august’s sun: they take the month off. rip the page from the calendar. hightail it to the seaside or up into the mountains. or just plunk down in some vineyard in provence, make do with grapes and olives and lavender. how sad can it be?
but we, most of us anyway, are americans. so we work and we perspire. here then, is how i plan to spend my sweaty days ahead:
i will move into the basement by day. it’s dingy down there, but it’s cool. and right now cool is the goddess we aim to befriend.
when i must come up, for air and the occasional drop of sunlight, i will hunker down under wide-brimmed hat, and i will take to making like a victorian lady. i will wield a fan. a nice chinese one landed here the other day, and i’ve been wafting it around, blowing air. it works. i put the little one to sleep last night stirring air in his direction.
i will tank up every morning, fill the biggest pitcher on the shelf with ice and water and, because we need a dignified air to go with all this hog-sweating, i will tuck in sprigs of mint. i will be so busy sipping and sucking mint, i’ll barely notice that i am dripping. down in the dark and dingy basement where i will be sequestered, a prisoner of august, indeed.
on the other hand, i might just tough it out. stay up where air is hot, yes, but bright. i am not much of a mole, and i’ll go nuts, i think. if i stay in the fluorescent cool.
perhaps i’m not the wimp i thought i was. perhaps none of us are. perhaps the mere thought of being locked in the basement, where the mice run, where the spiders crawl, is enough to get me through the heat.
maybe i’ll just busy myself rescuing tomatoes from the vine. fan old ladies. leave old men alone.
i could think of worse ways to while away the hottest month around.
okay, now it’s your turn. we’ve all sorts of games to play today. there is the metaphor challenge. go ahead, fill in the blank. “so hot…..”
and then there’s your chance to share survival skills. what do you like to do to beat the heat?
and, because taking turns is such a good idea, we can play whatever game you would like to play. just explain the rules. be polite. and we will play along. heck, it’s august. it is the month for goofing off.
a few announcements for today: first, to the brother i love so much who was born tomorrow, a while back, happy happy birthday. may the casco bay and blessed bec fill your day and your dreams with all things sweet and cool.
and to the love of someone else’s life who is back home, now, in sweet chicago, welcome back. we’ve been counting down your return and now we know, all is well. in old hyde park.