It was disgustingly hot today. 95° with the humidity pushing the heat index over 100°. The ground cooked with that visible sizzle and the air hung hellishly humid. To make things worse, the AC in my car was busted (more on my car situation later) and driving with my windows down merely fanned the invisible flames. Its probably 120° in the car. My sweat soaked shirt clung to my skin which perpetually perspired a film of sweat. I'm sticky and irritable. As I drive on, I try to make some jokes to lighten the situation but my wife says its too hot to laugh. She crinkles her face and achingly proclaims "Atsui!" (Hot in Japanese) over and over again.

Has our ability to cope with heat diminished that much? Years ago, we nearly withstood a week of 100° heat without air conditioning in a 3rd story apartment in Philly. Oh we had an air conditioning unit, but we chose not to use it until a heat-related death entered the realm of possibility. Our initial motivation was saving money but later on we persisted on bravado. We were inspired by others in the neighborhood who didn't have the luxury of air conditioning and sat on their apartment stoops below. We urged each other to hold off and soon enough we dared each other to see who would succumb first and flip the AC switch. It seems foolish in retrospect, but we felt like defiant survivors of a disaster movie challenging mother nature to bring it on.

Now at our condo, I flip on the AC at first instance of discomfort and the vents pump air until I find myself covered with blankets.


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