This is not a post about climate change, about what we are doing to our global environment, or even about recycling. This is a post about how to embrace what you have been given, how to take the summer and run with it, how to turn your lemons into delicious, icy cold lemonade, or your sweat into, well, probably more sweat. But you know what? It's time to learn to like it anyway.
Some facts: This "wave" as we call it, even though we're too warm and exhausted to lift our hands in the air make those air quotes, begins now. Temperatures are expected to climb to 94 degrees today in New York City. Weather people predict a high of 97 tomorrow, and on Friday, 91. By the weekend it will be slightly cooler but still in the 80s.
On to the positive, thinking portion of this guide: Here's how to stop your woe-is-me-ing and I'm-so-hot-ing and enjoy your heat wave, regardless of the pool of sweat in which you find yourself reclining. To recline so luxuriously in one's own sweat, we should all be so lucky!
You totally knew this was going to happen. Back in what seems almost like another time and place, the curmudgeonly were oft heard grousing about how our relatively frost-free and lovely December through March only meant that we'd pay with a summer hotter than Hades. And now, curmudgeons may delight in the fact that they were right. What unexpected pleasure is this for curmudgeons, who must imitate a frown of discontent while secretly beaming brilliantly on the inside with the joy of 1,000 smiles right now. You know they are.
Boom times for the makers of gazpacho and popsicles. If you have anything to do with either of these cool-temp treat businesses, gird your loins, it's showtime. If you enjoy eating cold soups and cold frozen things on sticks, gird your loins, because it is also showtime. This makes lunch so easy, right? Assuming you're even hungry. As for the unexpected pressure of all that loin-girding, don't worry, it's too hot for anyone to notice whether you do or not.
Standards are suddenly wonderfully low. There's something about a wave of soul-sucking heat that makes life, if not entirely like a vacation, a lot more like an adventure—even more so if there's an actual blackout or something. And so, everything is just a wee bit different, even as schedules and structures remain the same. But we're looser, freer, almost as if the typical rules of life don't apply. We move with less aggression and purpose through the streets, simply because we can't speed up; our limbs have become slow and molasses-like and inadvertent, like Gumby-limbs. Just making it into the office is a triumph for which you get an A. Trudging to whatever after-work activities you have planned for later, an A+. Basically, you win, just for signing in. And there's that opportunity to do something a little bit crazy, because you never know what might happen during a heat wave. The world is your oyster which you probably shouldn't eat because it's been out in the sun for a while and no one wants food-poisoning, here.
No longer do you fear an air-conditioner plummeting from a window above and falling on your head. Because you are inside, seated next to an air conditioner.
The playing field has been made even. Things like "lateness," and "tiredness," and "excessive perspiration," are no longer actually issues because we are all faced with them. Things like, "your makeup dripping off your face," "upper-lip and pit sweat," and "feeling like you might pass out," these are the problems of everyman. We all look awful, like mice the cat dragged in from a neighborhood pool. We all smell. We all want our ice coffee and we're sipping it like it's an IV. But there is solidarity in this community, and there's no one to impress, here. (Unless you're talking about how many BTUs your air conditioner has, in which case, you are impressive, and your time to entice the object of your unrequited desire is now and only now.)
Fire ants hate the heat. Just another unexpected irony in this wackadoo world, right? Share that with your pals over frozen margaritas!
Calorie burning everywhere. If you want to only eat ice cream you can, because your metabolism has gone into overdrive, so heated is your core. Even your slow movement from the subway to the office is a workout. So, yay. No need for squats today.
Simple joys. When you walk into a subway car and find it powerfully or even nominally air-conditioned, you feel as though the sun has shined upon you and only you, so great is this gift. When your air conditioner actually works, same. Water tastes like the nectar of the Gods, cold beer even better. Ice, can we talk about how amazing ice is? We love ice. And your office, which is way too cold on a typical day, is a place of beauty, generosity, and goodwill, at least through Friday.
Consider this heat wave a gift. Or, at the very least, realize that you can go to work with your hair wet, clad in last summer's cut-offs and a pair of flip flops. And no one is going to say a word.