June 30, 2006

First Person:

The heat is on...

By Al Carlos Hernandez

It is not what you think. I hate it when the weather is hot. We have been experiencing a heat wave, and for some reason the oppressive unforgiving climate makes me angry.

Maybe the reaction is Pavlovian. On September 11th the day of the attack, it was eerily warm. Come to think of it, it was hot the day of the big earthquake in the Bay Area in 1989 during the World Series. Temperatures rise, when temperatures rise.

Somehow I have come to equate hot with misery and suffering, this could come subliminally from my Catholic upbringing. All I know is when it gets hot, I get even hotter, and not in the amorous sense, in fact the physical reaction is quite the contrary.

We live on the coast, and temperatures are usually in the 60s, with an ocean breeze, shrouded with rolling blankets of grey billowy fog. That’s how I like it and know how to dress.

During the days of heat, my standard attire includes a pair of Cholo cut off sweats slashed below the knee, no socks, and a wife beater T shirt. My arms and face are tanned brown and my legs are chalked white, and look like a Mr. Potato head put together by a Democratic affirmative action committee.

My theory is that when you are cold it’s easier to get warm, and then when you are warm it is easier to chill out. Riding around in an air conditioned vehicle only gives you a false sense of security; it’s all good until you have to park. I have run out of places to go, mall security is getting suspicious, and the cashiers at the supermarket who know all of my business, are no longer honoring my coupons.

I have become a victim of white leg discrimination. Someone who shall remain nameless said, when I wear my cutoffs, I look like a white pair of pliers with a band aid around it. My retort to such a comment is usually, “Yo Mama,” but since we had the same Mama the comment seemed indecorous, and besides Mom’ s was quick witted enough to side with the insult observation and add, “…and just a bowl legged too”.

It is really hard to sleep when it’s hot. I like to be all snuggled up in the blankets pillows over my head, almost like a convict hiding from a chain gang underneath a hay loft.

When it’s hot, I just lie there vulnerable and sweating like the Oil Company executive thief who gets to meet his new cell mate in the morning.

Our house is not designed for hot weather, we have double paned windows and it is insulated like a thermos, when we open the windows we let the hot air in and it stays warm all day.

Hot climate stagnates and pollutes the air like the sitting political regime.

When the opportunity permits I try to take the motorcycle out for a cruise but there is a catch 22. When you ride a bike you need to wear protective clothes in case you fall off.

There are two kinds of riders, those who have fallen off and those who will fall off. This means jeans, boots, helmet and some type of jacket, whose sleeves you would choose to be scraped off instead of your elbows. So you find yourself in hot clothes riding down the street with the sense of someone holding a huge hair dryer to your face, just so you can cool off.

The good news is heat really kills my appetite, I have lost a few pounds being miserable, and this is even without watching CNN, or local news programs. The best thing to do in coping with heat is to stay hydrated, not inebriated, stay calm, avoiding visiting relatives, buying insurance, doing any do it yourself home improvement projects, door to door campaigning, or actually running for office yourself.

I am inspired by the eco- predictability of the cool fog that never fails us on the coast side to roll in and cool us down. We like it when it is 60’s on the coast and 117 inland.

No doubt that within a few months Football will start and everything will be comfortable and cuddly again. The too hot, dog days of Indian summer will be gone, hopefully not shrouded in a visceral memory of tragedy or catastrophe this year.

If it is hot here it is hotter where our brave troops are. It might be time to bring them back into the cool comfort of home too.

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

Return to the Frontpage