Sunday, July 3, 2011

Talking About Heat

Here in the south we probably have as many descriptive terms for heat as the Eskimos have words for snow.

"Gettin' hot," we say to each other when spring is beginning to merge with summer. "Gettin' hot."
We nod, knowing exactly what the other person is saying.
"Sure is," and that means it's probably going to get up into the nineties.
That's about where it starts.
I don't think we actually say the word "scorcher," as in "Gonna be a scorcher today." Maybe we do. I just don't know.
We do tend to overuse the old "it's not the heat, it's the humidity," which in our case is only partially true. It is, of course, both. Some days are worse than others. Days when it might rain but probably won't and the air is as thick with water as it is with air. It's like trying to breathe through jello or something. The moisture in the air seems to call out the moisture in our bodies so that they may join and we sweat as we walk to get our paper in the early morning.
"Fuck," we think, and we are right- we are fucked. We know to move slowly, we know to get things done outside which must be done outside as early as possible and we bitch, bitch, bitch.
Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun," goes the old saying and it's true. One of the oldest and most venerable of the Tallahassee construction companies is one called "Mad Dog" and they were formed of hippies about forty years ago and these days, their work is high-dollar, the best company in town with the highest credentials.
You do construction in Tallahassee in the summer and you are a super-human. I always think of roofers in Tallahassee in the summer. Standing up on the tops of buildings, pots of that nasty asphalt glue bubbling away and it's like one thousand degrees up there and WHO IN THE WORLD CAN DO THAT?
Not me.
Okay. On to other words. So when it gets really, really hot, if you ask someone in town how they're doing they say, "Just trying to stay cool."

This means it's gettin' up in the hundreds and at night, isn't getting below the eighties.

And this means that if you go out and walk or work in the garden after eight a.m., you're asking for it.

Which I do.
Which means I'm an idiot.

You have your "heat exhaustion," your "heat prostration," and your "heat stoke."

I believe that I had the "heat exhaustion" today which I treated by shelling peas and watching "Pawn Stars" which is sort of my perfect day.

My life is so exciting. What can I say?

Tomorrow Owen is coming at six a.m. and so I shall be up to receive him and he will say, "Dark!" and I will take him back to bed where Bop will still be sleeping if all goes as planned and he will snuggle back down in the covers and go back to sleep.

It will be hot when we get up and yet, we shall play outside and perhaps go for a walk in the heat and our feet will get so dirty and we shall sweat like pigs, which is another thing we say, even though pigs do not sweat, which is why they wallow in mud.

Here we are, where it gets hotter than Hades, hotter than hell. We do what must be done and then we go inside.

"Out," Owen will say and I'll say, "It's too hot," and when we come in the cool house he'll say, "Phew!" and so will I.

Lord. It is hot. It's summer in North Florida. What more can I say?

I think I have heat prostration and need to go to bed soon. The alarm shall be set for five at which point it will be cooler but not cool, dark as midnight.

"Light!" Owen will say and I will say, "Nope. Lay down with Mer-Mer and Bop-Bop."

I'll let you know how it goes.

In the heat.

Summer in North Florida and we hang on by our fingertips. We do the best we can. We are sweating like pigs. We are movin' slow.



  1. Today was one of those here, too. We went to see a movie and I reveled in our goosebumps.

    PS: Have I told you that you remind me of an Elizabeth Berg heroine? Because you do. And I mean that as a huge compliment.

  2. You have my sympathy about the heat there. I don't know if I could stay there in the summer.

  3. I imagine that summer in Florida is like our summer in Queensland, hot hot and hot, but they say ours further south in Victoria is a dry heat, which is allegedly more bearable. I'm not sure though.

    For now I look forward to the warmth of summer. I prefer it to the cold of winter, though it's easier to sleep in winter I find, yet harder by far to get out of bed in the morning.

    Thanks Ms Moon for reminding me of summer.

  4. It has been hot today but there is a good breeze blowing which makes it bearable. There is a little rhyme that sort of describes the situation: when the weather's hot and sticky, that's no time to dunk your d&#%ie but when the frost is in the punkin, that's the time for d&#%ie dunkin'. Also we say that a person is hotter than a fox here.

  5. I remember it well -- similar to South Carolina where we go every summer and Georgia, where I grew up. Yikes. That's hot, and I can't deal with the humidity. Out here on the west coast, the second it gets above 80 degrees or so, people start complaining about "how hot" it is. That makes me giggle.

  6. As I recall, during my MANY stays at Chez Moon, you encouraged showers at the end of a day.

    In addition to the shower that I took at the beginning of the day.

    I fondly miss me some Florida heat.

  7. I did not know that pigs don't sweat! But we say 'sweating like a pig' quite a lot, I seem to remember. Weird.

  8. Anything over 78 or so is too hot for me, humidity or no hellmidity. I do tend to never notice what goes for humidity out here. If my glasses don't immediately for up, it isn't humid. But heat--even in the 80s---apparently I am a delicate fragile blossom of Southern womanhood who must live in a grotto all my days.

    In my girlhood my mother would say I was hot-natured (which I surely am) and I got it confused with hot-blooded (which I...surely am).
    And when I think of my granny picking cotton! I just shake my head. Talk about blessing somebody's heart.

    I tend to say "blazin' hot." That goes for when it is viciously hot and the sun's so bright I can't hardly lift my head without squinching up my streaming eyes.

    OH I wish you relief from that wicked heat! (end ramble)

  9. P.S. Syd--your entire comment is awesome.

  10. silverfinofhope- Well, no one's ever said THAT to me before. Mmmm...

    Andrew- We are tough in the opposite way you are. Funny.

    Elisabeth- I agree with you perfectly about the sleep thing and the getting-up thing. How odd to think that you are in winter, and yet, you are.

    Syd- Is the "bad" word "dickie"? Because if it is, you crack me up. Okay, you crack me up anyway. I need to remember that one.

    Elizabeth- It's all relative, isn't it?

    Omgrrrl- At least one shower per day in this heat. At least.

    Jo- I'm glad we can sweat. I'm not sure I'd enjoy wallowing in the mud.
    Did you know that pigs can get badly sunburned?

    x-ray Iris- Blazing hot, yes. Exactly. Or mostly we probably just say, "God. It is hotter than FUCK!" which isn't really that descriptive but gets the point across.

  11. We had a few your northern FL hot/humid days last week and we were all dying. I guess it doesn't help that we jumped from 75 to 100 overnight. Ugh!

    Suffering through the heat can be just as miserable as the extreme cold. At least I have the option on putting on more can only get so naked. :)

  12. Even hotter than Hades, I'd rather be down home in the South than stuck here in the Yankee north. I miss the South every day.

    Love you.

  13. So, I was wondering, if you could move your house and your family and everything you like out there to somewhere a bit cooler, would you? And which climate would you choose?

  14. Oh Mary I feel for you. That sort of heat makes everything a million times harder.

    I'm not good in the heat. It's about 70 here today and sunny with a breeze which is lovely. It's rained relentlessly for the previous two days. I love the rain, I love thunder and lightning too. I'm lucky my house is cool in the summer and my bedroom never gets hot. We moan about our weather regardless but it's nowhere near as extreme as yours.

    I hope you get some rain soon. Love you xx


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