Sunday, July 7, 2013

Humidity...God's Wrath

All week on Facebook, I have been treated to pictures of my friends vacationing. Here’s a lovely shot of someone basking in the breezy bliss of a beach in Hawaii, there’s one of someone sitting outside in the middle of the afternoon drinking COFFEE somewhere in Michigan, while still another is wearing a long sleeve sweatshirt posing in front of a giant lobster in Maine. Meanwhile I’m dealing with 92 degrees and 90% humidity. Being from Richmond, Virginia, this is my lot in life from mid May all the way through mid October. Humidity is God’s cosmic retribution to the South for the sin of slavery; I am convinced, since I believe God to be a just God and someone who will not be mocked. For my readers who don’t live here, how shall I describe what humidity feels like? Here goes.

I wake up at 6 am. I don’t have my contacts on yet so I throw on my glasses and go downstairs. I get my coffee and open the door to the deck so I can protect my tomato plants from the early morning squirrel raids so common in my neighborhood. Since it’s already 85 degrees, my glasses instantly fog over so I have to feel my way to the loveseat. Once seated, my hair begins to rebel against such ungodly climate by desperately trying to escape the body heat escaping through my scalp. A million strands of hair stretch and pull, contorting themselves into a frizzy explosion of sticky curls making me resemble a maniacal Shirley Temple.

Then I begin to sweat, tiny beads of perspiration appearing on every square inch of my body, especially my back. Soon, the cotton shirt I am wearing begins to cling to my body like angry spandex. It now weighs 10 pounds and is plastered onto me like a death mask. As I peer across the back yard I think I see a squirrel dancing along the edge of the fence. But I can’t be sure because the heat waves rising up from the ground distort my view, washing everything I see in a roiling mist. I think it’s a squirrel, no it’s definitely a squirrel. I raise my Daisy Powerline 35 and draw a bead when I realize that it’s actually the neighbors’ 6 year old boy wearing a coon skinned cap. Crisis averted.

When I consider the fact that I grew up in a house with no air conditioning, I can hardly imagine how I survived. It was certainly no thanks to this:

I suppose it’s all what you’re used to. I see pictures of Theodore Roosevelt in a wool suit in an un-air conditioned train car in Panama…in August, signing some sort of treaty with a bunch of other men in wool suits and I shake my head in wonder.