Wednesday, July 07, 2010


It's been hot, staying hot too it seems. That's not just in New York of course. The Northeast, mid-Atlantic, the southeast, Texas, lots of areas are getting their 100 plus degree days. This comment is about New York where it is always a shock to go through a period like this, the memories have receded because they can't seem to be replaced by the actual experience.

This heat is mind numbing. As one who really enjoys a mile and a half walk to the local library to browse, read a few magazines, say hello to someone perhaps, and use a different computer, in recent days that outing has been out. The walk now leaves me drenched in sweat, then walking into artic air conditioning and sneezing, and the return walk is uphill that is more of the same except for final the semi-vertical climb up the street to our house that leaves my hair looking as if I've just taken a shower, my legs feeling rubbery like they've just been through major exercise. It's not worth it, not for the library, the butcher, the diner, the Chinese take-out, or the good pizza shop.

Folks reading this may say what punk is writing this. He could be in 115 degree Phoenix or experiencing the more reasonable 100 to 105 degree tempertures in the 100% humidity of towns like Washington or St. Louis. Well, then I say try Manhattan in this weather where I have reason to be three days this week. Manhattan is always a noisy place, cars, taxis, buses, horns, voices, and subways, and heat like this just seems to accentuate the noise. Manhattan has plenty of stressed our people who work too hard and more who can't work enough or at all. Compared to the 1970's and 1980's the city is a wonderfully civil place but in this heat it's easy to see that temperature gauges on some people are just about to blow, either their minds or their bodies. Hemmed in by buildings and crowds there is not a hint of a breeze or a stray zephyr(I have always wanted to use that word). Yesterday the city was sending out large fire trucks to supplement the EMS force due to the number of elderly, indigent, or others who just fall out on the streets.

And speaking of Phoenix, summer there is so hot that on the worst days walking anywhere forces everyone to bend into the heat waves like they do in the cold of winter snowstorms, but everyone drives everywhere in that city so once they remove the towels from their seats and steering wheel(if they are not garaged) they escape, often from one garage to another. In Manhattan, walking is essential for short to moderate distances or even longer depending on transportation availability, subways platforms are stifling(but today most subway cars are not), and taxis, if they can be found are often configured such that the struggling cars a/c output cannot get beyond the partitions that protect the driver from the passenger. The driver is cool, the passenger is claustrophobic and near a panic attack.

Back I go into Manhattan tomorrow, carrying a small high powered flashlight just in case power is out once again when I return as it was yesterday, and hoping that I don't get to relive 2003 when much of the Northeast power grid blew out and subways and commuter trains and lights all shut down. I'll stay out of elevators.

Just a few more days and we'll be back into the balmy high '80's to low 90's and the market caught a needed run today, I too caught a needed run as we drove to the gym so all could soon be well, or at least for today. For those without air conditioning in their city homes and apartments, however, it must be miserable.


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