Sunday, July 23, 2006

Keep cool

The temperatures in Seattle this week have been in the record-breaking mid-90s. People are miserable, but in large part that's because they're in denial. You see folks hiking around in the hot sun without so much as a hat on their heads.

I grew up in the South where people know how to handle the heat. Here's a quick overview:
  1. Stay in the dark. Draw the drapes and shades; exterior shutters, if you've got them, are even better. Open only those doors and windows that are completely shaded by a roof or an awning and in line with a breeze. Don't turn on any lights.
  2. Drink plenty of liquid. Really, you shouldn't be without a glass of something cool in your hand, whether it's water, iced tea, or lemonade. Many advocate cold beer, though it's advisable to hold off on the bourbon on the rocks until evening.
  3. Stay low. Stay downstairs; heat rises. Stretch out on the floor (don't laugh until you've tried it).
  4. Don't move. This is not the time to clean out the closets, vacuum the rugs, or (heaven forbid) cook something. You could, however, use the time to write a novel or compose a song. This is why the South is famous for novelists and musicians rather than for self-improvement gurus and efficiency experts. (And all the Southern politicians? Let's just say that their early experience with extreme heat prepares them not only for the political milieu but for the place most of them will eventually wind up. Meanwhile, an columnists says we can blame air-conditioning for the election of George W. Bush.)

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