Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hot in the city, hot in the city, that's right!

You know you are overheated and not thinking straight when you try to call your brother and instead dial your own number into your cell phone.  None of this registers until you hear a woman’s voice laying out options for your voicemail settings.  Even then it takes you a few seconds staring blankly at your phone to figure out what’s happening.  Yes, this is what a New York heat wave can do to you.
Outside the air is so thick with humidity, you feel as though you are choking on it.  Down in the subway it becomes a sauna.  You feel a burning sensation as the hot vapors enter your air passage ways.  Each breath carries less oxygen than the one before.  The heat circling your respiratory track leaves your esophagus inflamed.  The perspiration is pouring from you now.  In fact, calling it perspiration is a joke.  There’s no delicate beading of water forming on your forehead.  Sweat is literally dripping from your hairline as though someone poured a bottle of water on your head.  You look around to see women with Chinese fans and men with hand towels.  You are secretly praying that the blouse you are wearing is not stuck to your back in dampness.  The train arrives and you push in against sweaty limbs and shirts trying to position yourself near the air conditioned vent.
By the time you reach your office building and sit down at your desk, you are completely red-faced and drenched.  Your co-workers that have arrived a half hour before look refreshed and comfortable and always manage to stop by your desk as you are trying to compose yourself.  Giving up and going to the bathroom is your sole mission.  Wetting paper towels with cold water and placing them on the back of your neck helps a bit.  Meanwhile you are trying to wipe off the smeared mascara that was supposed to be water-proof.  You come out of the ladies room sans make-up, but feeling more at ease. You swing by the kitchen to grab a cold water bottle before heading back to your desk, cursing to yourself that you will have to wait until you cool down before having your first cup of coffee.
After work is no better, all the humidity has collected and it is now pouring with rain.  You come out from the subway getting poked in the head by people opening their umbrellas before they even exit.  A vendor has parked himself at the exit/entrance and is shouting, “umbrellas!”  You stop to ask how much only to realize you don’t have any cash on you.  You run carefully without slipping to the next awning and huddle with the masses.  You can only assume they didn’t have any cash either.  Five minutes go by…ten…a few have made a break for it to the next inlet, but you know better.  The massive downpour will let up any minute now.  In fact, it is only drizzling.  
Tentatively, you leave your dry haven in search of the bar where your friend will be playing bass with his band.  The spots on your glasses are a hindrance, but you still make your way dodging deep puddles that have accumulated at every curb.  You can’t believe that all this rain didn’t cut the humidity. 
You enter the establishment with wet hair and soggy shoes, but your friend is at the bar ordering drinks and you scurry over to partake.  The first Cosmo slides down too easily.  You are still hot, but now a feeling of calm has taken over.  In fact, you and your friend feel a bit giggly.  The jazz that is blaring from the stage has a relaxing effect on you.  You have timed the finishing of your drink with the end of the song perfectly.  You are having thoughts of ordering another when the lead saxophone player grabs the microphone and asks if there are any “Bix Beiderbecke fans” in the room.  You jump up enthusiastically shouting, “Yes!”  Of course you are a “big Spiderman fan.”  It isn’t until they start playing again that you question what this has to do with Spiderman.  Maybe a second Cosmo isn’t in the cards.  In fact, that first one has hit you harder than usual.  Your friend agrees that you are both a bit dehydrated and tipsy.  However, the thought of the long, stifling trip home has you both downing another.  Hey, this is New York.  You can always catch an air conditioned taxi!     
**Tip of the week:
When it is over 90 degrees outside, carry a bottle of water, handkerchief and an umbrella…er…at least have cash on hand to buy one.  Good news: you can consume half the amount of alcohol to achieve the same affect.  Bad news: you will feel as sticky as your drink.

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