Too Darn Hot

I've learned a few things in the brief time I've spent in New York City.  First and foremost, I have learned the difference between summer in Austin, Texas, and summer in NYC.

In Austin, yes, it is hot.  Much hotter than here.  90-100 degrees many days, and with the humidity it can seem like more.  But there is one thing that Austin has, that New York does not... an all consuming obsession with air conditioning.  It's deeply embedding in our psyches.  We keep our homes perfectly air conditioned with our central A/C.  We drive to and from work in portable A/Cs.  We carry sweaters to the office to drape on our shoulders for god sake, because the office is always cold, if not downright frigid.  Movie theaters, grocery stores, malls, all these places are pumped full of frigid air.  It's so cool that I have yearned for days I've only seen in films, back in the forties, when  young women and men lounged languidly on wicker chairs on their screened in porches as they sipped lemonade in front of a fan, reading the Sunday comics.  "Oh well" I would think to myself with slight regret, "those days are gone.

No.  Actually they are not.

Here in New York, sure...places are cooled.  And yet... I've walked a great deal here, in the heat, back and forth, around blocks, up and down the stairs.  And the subway?  Certainly not freezing.  Nor is central air conditioning something one can count on in every apartment here. Most of the time they will have the window units, if they have A/C at all.  My home for the first couple of nights?  Window unit.  My home for the next three weeks?  No A/C at all.  Cue the forties music as I start squeezing the lemons.

It actually reminds me a lot of when I was a kid, around four, and my mother and I were staying in the  upstairs bedroom of my aunt and uncle while we looked for a more permanent place to stay.  Mom and I would lie with the lights out, window open, fan blowing, as we played some children's record and I fell asleep listening to "The Little White Duck", and "The Teddy Bear's Picnic".  At the time I didn't think too much of it.  It was so hot my arms stuck to whatever part of my body they lay upon.  Of course now, those are good times.  Golden even.  And just hearing "Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats" gives me a glow.

So here's hoping that as I lie on top of the sheets with fans blowing, that I am making fond memories of my early days in New York.
Joe Hartman