Friday, July 14, 2006

Mad Hot

Lindsey Hodges on KGOU: "It's 7:00, 108 degrees and fair in the metro."

Lori Holliday: "No, Lindsey, it's not fair at all. It's 7:00 at night and freaking hot!"

A few years ago I decided my new philosophy was to embrace the heat of summer. After all, there really isn't much I can do about it. And, for the most part, since then I've lived in relative peace with hot days realizing that the price we pay (and everything comes with price, right?) for nine months of relatively pleasant weather is three months of living in the fires of hell. So, bring on the upper 80's, the lower 90's, heck, even the upper 90's. I understand it's all part of living in the places I've decided to live.

But my veneer does begin to crack during the extremes. And 108 degrees is extreme. So far we've had five straight days of 100+ degree weather, and it's anticipated that we could have 20-30 more days of the same. No rain. Just hot. It's close to midnight and I took the Dotopotamus out for her final tinkle of the night. As I opened the door it felt like we were walking into the steam bath at the YMCA - you could see Dot wince just a little bit. I bet it is still 99 degrees outside right now.

I spend so much of my day in the comfort of refrigerated air that I'm really not exposed to the extreme heat that much, yet it still has its affect. Our walks both in the morning and at night are too hot and short. My petunias have given up the ghost. Getting in the parked car is a risky venture. I always feel a little too sweaty and I fight the desire to give up my business clothes for shorts and a tank top.

But I'm pleasantly surprised to find that my empathy increases as the mercury in the thermometer heads skyward. I don't get maniacal and mean, I get sympathetic. My heart goes out to the highway construction workers as I pass them raking out hot tar on the street in the middle of the day. I can't imagine working on the oil field like my friend Sam. And I completely take my hat off and bow down to the strength of those who lived in these hot climates before air conditioning. Good grief -- there was no relief anywhere for those people. As my dad would say, they were tough sons of bitches! Heck, my dad WAS one of those touch sons of bitches living in the hot of West Texas with no AC.

There are two distinct times that stand out in my mind as being so hot I thought I might not make it. The summer of '98 when I was living in Beth's backyard shed was brutal. There was no getting cool that year. And, only three years ago, when we were setting up for the first-ever outdoor Austin City Limits Gala at Zilker Park on a SEPTEMBER day, of all things. Two people went down with sun stroke, one guy had a heart attack, and I believe I got a little sun poisoning myself that day, but I will always be proud of my little team for their perseverance that day and night. Truly, a physical beating would not have whipped us anymore than that day did.

There is nothing -- and I mean nothing -- better than the perfect summer day and night in the mountains. Just hot enough during the day, but then the PERFECT comfort of the nights is awesome. That's why Texans love Colorado so much - I believe it's because they get relief from the heat for a little while. I miss that great mountain weather but, talk about extremes. The price one pays for living in beautiful summer weather is generally the blistering cold of a January morning when you get to dig your way out of a 3' snow drift during a blizzard. Life is a series of trade offs, I guess.

So, I'm hunkering down and fanning off here in OKC and me and the Dotopotamus are drinking plenty of water and feeling pretty good about the fact that the death star has gone down and we have a good 7 more hours of darkness!


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