Monday, June 15, 2015

The heat is upon us

The summer heat has arrived. After some pleasant mornings and bearable afternoons, the heat is upon us, and it's not pleasant.

Last Thursday, a friend and I set out in the late afternoon to erect a sign at a local intersection. The temperature hovered around 90 degrees, the hottest day of the year to that date. The sign, which was much heavier than we expected, had to be manhandled into position, and then we had to dig the post holes. By the time we finished, we were both drenched in sweat and longing for a refreshing, cold drink.

It was after 5 p.m. when we finished, so I went straight to the gym, despite feeling worn out from the exertion expended raising the sign. I planned to cut the workout short, but even that proved challenging. I was dragging from the moment I stepped onto the elliptical trainer and left the gym even earlier than I had planned.

The weekend was hotter still. I mowed grass early Saturday morning, but by mid-day the heat had risen to about 90 degrees. Sunday was even hotter. The heat was unremitting, searing against your skin as soon as you stepped out of the shade. Just standing in the heat prompted a flow of perspiration that soaked your hair and your clothes and dripped onto eyeglasses, making the heat not just uncomfortable but annoying as well.

This heat is forecast to last the rest of the week. We will dodge the worst of the heat if we can by hiding out inside air-conditioned buildings and moving quickly into air-conditioned cars to travel to another air-conditioned building. Utility bills will soar, and AC units will break down from the demand.

We've grown so accustomed to air conditioning that we can no longer tolerate heat, even the relatively mild summer temperatures in the 80s. Once, I lived through entire summers without ever entering air conditioned spaces. Windows stood open to catch any breeze, and electric fans stirred the hot, damp air, and hot nights left us in bedclothes damp from our perspiration, but we managed to tolerate the discomfort. We've lost that tolerance and cannot get it back.

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