Monday, July 17, 2006

Too Darn Hot

We're Having a Heat Wave
It's over 110 in my apartment in the middle of New York City. I don't believe in air-conditioning; in fact, I grew up in a climate that sent temperatures soaring over 100 through most of the summer and we had no air-conditioner.

The area where I'm from went 11 years one time without rain.

When I was a kid, air-conditioning wasn't that old, and what it was was water-cooled air, and then it became refrigerated air. In my childhood home we had one big, gawky, thunderous squirrel-cage water cooler, and that was it, a big metal box at least 4 feet x 4 feet square, with three sides screened in and packed with a straw-like material. Around the top of the box inside were 3 troughs into which you ran water, which then drained down into the straw where it slowed way down and gradually dripped out of the straw and into a big water pan that was the bottom of the contraption.

The fan was cylindrical; it looked like those wheels hamsters love to make spin, which a squirrel might do, too, for all I know since this fan was called a squirrel-cage fan. Inside the house, the fan fit in the window with an opening that let the cool air blow into the room. It worked. I don't ever remember it being so hot we were unconfortable or at the point of dehydration and heat stroke. I played baseball in the summer in 100-degree weather; I burnt to a crisp every summer. If you got hot you headed for some shade. If you got thirsty, you went to a hydrant and got down and cupped your hands and drank from the tap. Yes, we, too, busted open fireplugs every now and then and, yes, even out in Texas we learned to put a can over them to make sprinklers out of them. Or, if there wasn't a drought going and a limit on using water, we'd set up lawn sprinklers and run around in them like wild wolfboys.

That was dry air.

Today, I'm in New York City and it's about 100--they like to say "It's 99 in Central Park." But it's 110 in my room. I'm looking at my old Ford Station Wagon thermometer and it says 110, the mercury beginning to slightly nibble at the top of the tube as if it's going to blow its top. I'm cool though because I have three big bruiser fans spinning away madly stirring the boiling air of my room to a cool enough point for me to breathe.

I've been in this apartment without a fan of any kind in the summer. One day I was playing the piano, I still have the tape I made of this, and it was brutally hot and I looked out across my room and damn, I could see the heat, watery like and quivering in the air before me.

I once did a rehearsal in a rehearsal studio that the air conditioning went out, in the middle of a summer, and my friend, the bass player, a man who at that time weighed, I'll bet, way over 400 pounds, and he said, "Shit, let's do it anyway, man; let's fight this heat with some cool music."

As the babes used to sing in "It's Too Darn Hot," "I'd like to be with my baby tonight...I'd like to spoon with my baby tonight...I'd like to be with my baby tonight, pitch some woo with my baby tonight, but brother you take my baby tonight 'cause it's too darn hot."

It certainly is too darn hot to work on this blog. Think of those poor souls in Iraq where it's over 130 in some spots; think of those poor wretched souls. In Afghanistan, too; it's brutally hot over there. Did you notice it's never too hot for men to fight. The old bareknuckle fights that were illegal were often held in remote places like the Nevada desert or the plains around El Paso, Texas, and these fights went a hundred rounds easy--and in many of those fights they fought in 100-plus degree heat.

It's never too hot for war. The Israelis trying to start WWIII have picked the hottest time to do it. It's never to hot for those folks. Fight, you bastards, maybe all of you will drop dead of heat strokes.

I'm going to my Irish pub and cool off over some Guinness Stout. Then I'm meeting thedailygrowlerhousepianist and we're going to Central Park for a musician party. Musicians can't help it if it's hot--some like it hot; some like it cool; I like it right down the middle and then from side to side--that's all the coolness I need.

for The Daily Growler

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