Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's friggin' hot

One of the attractions of North Carolina for me, 35 years ago, was that it was located in a marginally warmer climate than the one I was living in in eastern Pennsylvania.

I'm sure I thought that thought during the winter months. Be that as it may, I found a job in the Tar Heel state and moved south for keeps. I was clearly a carpet-bagging Damn Yankee, as I've been told. Repeatedly. I married a local girl. I stole the silverware.

I was 25 years old when I made that momentous move and, presumably, I became acclimated to the local weather over the ensuing years. Yes, it was mild in the winters. But it was also incredibly hot and humid in the summers.

It's nuts when it's 80 degrees at 6 a.m.
But never mind. I adapted. I regularly played church-league softball in the heat of July ( I wore "00" on my shirt, a number, I think, reserved exclusively for Yankees) back in those days. I actually thought I was having fun.

Then I discovered golf. I played for years, and could hardly wait for summers to arrive because, when the temperature climbed into the 90s, I virtually had the entire course to myself. It was great. I'd walk the course, carrying my bag over my sweaty back, happily climbing hills, fording streams, chasing my GPS-guided hooks and slices into poison-ivied woods. Life was good.

It's a wonder I survived, looking back on it. I wonder how close — and how many times — I came to heat stroke?

I don't play golf in bake ovens anymore (or if I do, I ride in a golf cart), and this might be a reluctant concession to my age (60). I'm constantly being warned to stay indoors and slow down when the heat index rises. But I use this information selectively. If the grass needs mowing, say, I'll gladly stay indoors instead. Otherwise, I'll still chance the heat if I have an excuse to be outside.

For example, I still go for my walks early in the morning. This might seem like a good time to go in the middle of an oppressive heat wave, but I have to tell you, it's still ridiculous, even at 5:30 a.m. I usually wear sweat pants and a short-sleeved sweat shirt (why is it so difficult to find short-sleeved sweat shirts these days?), but it can get to 80 degrees by 6 a.m. That's nuts.

At home, I try to keep the thermostat from bankrupting us. I have it set around 77, which is about five degrees higher than I'd like. But it's manageable, if not comfortable. It just requires more adapting, I guess.

In the end, there's not much any of us an do about the heat except endure. Or complain.

Stay cool.

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