Lizard Man in the Hot

July 21st, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

turtles1Yankees, grits and thermometers bring the oddest weather prides and tolerances. Today was maybe 96° in Boston, allegedly feeling 10° warmer with humidity. That’s not so bad, even though the better-safe-than-sorry sorts had their klaxons blaring.

Yankees, as in folk in New England, often display their masochism or stupidity by not wearing hats in bitter cold winds, and claiming to love snow and ice. Grits, as in folk in the deep South, slow down but claim to thrive in 100° air. A reasonable cliché is that Northerners turn on the air conditioner when it’s 73° and Southerners put on a cardigan when it’s below 68°.

While I’ve lived in Boston for most of my life, much of my childhood and youth was where heat’s the norm. Today in Boston was fine. I’m not unhappy or uncomfortable. I biked for a couple of hours this morning, getting out before the air hit 80° and returning, wet but OK before it got to 90°.

Truth be told, when I was out in the hottest part of the day later for chores, I was a happy as a basking lizard. I know I’m not cold blooded, but in real heat, I can relate to basking.

Of course, even, or maybe particularly, New Englanders go to a lot of distance, expense and other trouble to bask. They’ll hit the Cape or Esplanade or backyard to crisp up in the sun. That’s desirable. Somehow feeling the heat when you don’t seek it is not. Meh.

Maybe for me it was also the years in the lifeguard chair and all the associations. As a blond, I started summers too damned pale. I’d bake in the chair, getting blonder and brown or at least brownish at the same time. I got paid for goofing off, rolled with visions of pulchritude, and enjoyed the heat.

The mildly crushing embrace of the hot sun evokes those halcyon, long days with a whistle on a lanyard around my neck. I truly enjoy my cross-country skiing in the eenies or at zero with a wind chill way down, but in my heart and under my skin, basking is just fine.


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