This week in New York, the only accepted greeting has been, “It’s disgusting out there.” A statement of the obvious on a par with, “That sky sure is blue,” and “Man, shoes… what a great invention.”
Because, yes, it’s been somewhere in the neighborhood of armpit melt and fainting spell hot outside.
But here’s the thing: it’s also July. I know it’s trendy to wring our hands and point to every stagnant weather pattern as either confirmation or denial of global warming. But not every glance at the thermometer is a political act. It’s just hot. Like… July hot. Suck it up or move to Canada.
July in New York has always been a miserable affair. I remember one July when I was 16 or 17, it was glittering coals hot even at night. We lived in a tiny, rented house. Air conditioning was for rich, white people. It was a summer when things were at their worst with my dad and I could barely stand to be indoors with the mix of oppressive heat and overbearing father hanging in the air like a water balloon about to burst. I slept outside in the yard on the ancient plastic lawn chairs, their snapped loops creating weird sags as I tried to rest, dreaming of escape. THAT was a bad summer, an “uphill both ways” example of heat that really makes life miserable.
This July, by comparison, is a simple inconvenience. From crisp central air conditioning in the house to a nice cool car (well, eventually) to a bus that freezes the soft underside of my upper arms, to a fifteen minute walk from the Port Authority to the office (okay, that IS disgusting) and then to an office building where I need a sweater and where all food magically appears at the click of a couple of keys without me ever having to go anywhere… even the softest and whiniest of white-collar problem specialists can surely brave that.
So, people, stop posting pictures of the thermometer in your car on my Facebook feed. Honestly, we’re fine.