8/22/07

The Obligatory "Hot" Blog

WITH us living here in the midlands of South Carolina and all,

AND with said midlands going through the customary mid-August heat wave,

WHICH IS apparently even more severe than in years past,

WHICH THEMSELVES were said to be pretty doggoned sweletering,

I SUPPOSE it's time for me to gripe and moan about the weather.

AHEM.

*****

I thought it was curious when I heard that Little League season in South Carolina starts in February.

"February?"

"February."

That's when the little Little Leaguers get out there and start practicing, out there playing soft-toss in sweatpants and jackets. And sure enough, a few months later, when the last inning of final game winds down and you notice, "Whoo... it's pretty hot in this dugout, boys..." and they don't respond because they've melted into the benches, and are fighting over an ice cube someone's mom has passed through the fence grate, that's your first clue.

It is Officially Hot in Columbia, South Carolina, as of May. Hot enough to try and get your baseball season wrapped up pronto. And by *now,* which is the middle of August, it's something else entirely. Something that defies classification.

The Inuits have their 32 different words for snow. We need at least a couple dozen for "hot." This particular hot, this Mid-August-in-the-Midlands Hot, I propose should be called "Whoof." As in, "Whoof, I think I see visible waves of heat coming off that Labrador."

Bottled water is big here. If they could bottle shade, that'd sell out too.

Stores list air conditioning as a shopping attraction. You drive by and the sign says, "IT'S COOL INSIDE, BUT OUR DEALS ARE RED HOT," or, "COOL OFF WITH THE LATEST FASHIONS," or simply, "YOU WILL LIKELY NOT DIE OF HEATSTROKE."

Out on the road, motorists will happily pilot a vehicle with three flat tires, no radio, a bashed-in bumper and demons flying from the tailpipe, but the air conditioning HAS TO WORK.

Seersucker suits are considered fashionable here, but only if your occupation requires you to wear a suit. Otherwise, full frontal nudity is perfectly cool.

If you have to be outside, you try and get it done as early as possible. The garbage man comes at 5 am. The meter reader knocks off in, oh, March.

People scurry from their vehicles to the door of the nearest building like convicts on a prison break, dodging the sunbeams as they would searchlights from the guard tower.

And you learn little tricks, like installing a ceiling fan in every room of your house, closets included, and using a potholder to open your mailbox door.

Leave your sunglasses in the car one time, and the instantaneous singe on your nosebridge the moment you put them on will cure you of the habit forever. The telltale blisters mark you as a novice South Carolinian, a "Seared Sucker." You have to admit it's a clever inversion.

Other places have their State Fairs this time of year. We try to hold out until October. While other states revel in the prime months for barbecuing, we prefer to stay inside, lie very still, and top off the Sweet Tea in our IV bags.

I read once that in the coldest place on earth, Vostok, Antarctica, the temperature occasionally gets low enough that a lightly clothed person, left outside, would freeze to death in a matter of minutes. Here we have something similar: in mid-August a lightly clothed person, left outside, will be irreversibly cranky for the remainder of the day.

Women's perfume, particularly that of the women who subscribe to the "douse first, ask questions later" philosophy of personal fragrance, takes the opportunity to change from Pleasantly Noticeable to Nigh Overpowering. A sweet-looking grandmother walked past me this afternoon on the way into the antique mall ("A/C NOW REPAIRED WE PROMISE") trailing a haze of lavender and jasmine strong enough to peel paint off a school bus.

It's not a matter of *if* you'll have visible perspiration circles under the arms of your shirt, it's *whether* the areas will grow large enough to touch each other in the back.

It's pretty hot, is what I'm saying.

The only question I have is, alas, grammatical. What does the "it" in "it's hot" refer to? I've wondered this for the majority of my life, first regarding "It's raining." *What's* raining? *What's* hot?

Is it just, "it"? As in "everything"? I think that may say something interesting about human nature and how we perceive the world.

as in "Whoo... kinda hot, isn't it?"

And, make no mistake, it *is*... and will continue to be through September, I hear, but *what* is *it*?

Because whatever it is, it's kicking our --

[post discontinued due to massive heat exhaustion]

4 comments:

-T- said...

oven mits for the mailbox is a fantastic visual image...

Anonymous said...

"It's not a matter of *if* you'll have visible perspiration circles under the arms of your shirt, it's *whether* the areas will grow large enough to touch each other in the back."

That is just DIRT (but really funny)! I haven't used that word in a while and it seemed fitting. I don't recall ever hearing you complain about the heat of summers while you resided here in good ol' Indiana, so it must be pretty hot there. It isn't much better here. Bentley requests me to open the fridge once he returns from going outside so he can cool off.
Just take a dip in your pool, or is it just a big hot tub now?

vz

Anonymous said...

Col-
I really like this blog, particularly the convict-in-the-searchlights allusion -- wonderful!

The lower level guest room is quite cool, so you and Penny and Vince should be quite comfortable when you stay. Can you tell I'm getting excited about seeing you guys again?

Are there any particular food requests from your or Miss Penelope?

Love and hugs
Mom

Anonymous said...

Brilliant writing my friend. You seem to be getting better all the time - that job must be doing wonders for your skills.

Now if you'd just start that "Great American Novel" or at least settle for "Really Profitable Popcorn Book"...

(still think you should write a tv show or movie!!!)

-jake