1. The inability to carry on a conversation.
It’s hard to concentrate when your eyeballs are sizzling in your skull. The neurons in your brain are overheating, your body is switching to basic primal functions, and all extraneous activities, such as politeness or concern for your fellow man, are being terminated. And it’s usually right then that your beloved significant other attempts to launch a pointless conversation about nothing.
This is not the time for that, sweetie. I love you, and I want nothing more out of life than for you to be happy. Except when the temperature exceeds one hundred degrees. Then we enter a special phase of our relationship, a point where we have a conditional form of emotional etiquette. Don’t ask me where I want to eat lunch or who I think is going to get kicked off of Survivor this week. I’m not the tiniest bit interested in that. I’m focused on trying to breathe.
And don’t get all cranky, just because you think I don’t care about anything you might have to say right now. I am not ignoring you. I am choosing to have priorities, and you just don’t happen to be one of them right now. When it cools off, or the sun finally explodes, I will be more than happy to have a discussion. Until then, don’t jeopardize your life by asking if the new paint for the guest bedroom should be Zanzibar Sunset or Tuscan Potato.
2. Touching anything metal while outside leads to a flesh wound.
There’s nothing quite like the immobilizing pain you can experience by strolling out onto the veranda of the latest hip bistro, and then lowering yourself into one of the expensive, trendy deck chairs. That smell in the air? It’s not the soup of the day. It’s the charred skin peeling off your body. Be sure to order an extra margarita, because when you eventually stand back up, part of you won’t. And it will hurt.
And good luck getting into your car and driving home. First, you’ve got to find the vehicle in the parking lot. This is tricky enough in Dallas, where everyone buys the same kind of car, and you end up with 47 yellow Hummers lined up like you just wandered into a car dealership. Now add in the cooking asphalt, which is sending up those weird waves of shimmery gases that distort your vision. Now you can’t see squat, feeling like you’re trapped in a Federico Fellini movie, where voices fade in and out while bizarre things happen involving clowns and subtitles.
Once you finally locate your car, do not touch the exterior of the vehicle without wearing protective gloves. Otherwise, your hand will liquefy, making the operation of the vehicle a little more difficult. When you finally manage to get the door open, do not immediately jump inside or you will instantly vaporize. Let some of the demon heat escape. If possible, pay random passersby to climb in first and report back when the atmosphere has stabilized.
When you receive access clearance, the first thing you need to do is turn the AC all the way up. Yes, this means there will be a few minutes of a blast furnace burning all your hair off, but it’s just the price you have to pay. You’ve got to get that puppy working full strength or you are going to die. Once your nose hairs stop popping and crackling, put that thing in gear and drive to Canada.
3. The miserable air pollution gets even worse.
It’s already an established fact that the air quality in the DFW area is full of major suckage. Thousands of 18-wheelers are lumbering around, hauling cargo to all the Wal-Marts, so we can rush in and buy pointless things that we don’t really need. And of course, it’s a state law that everyone must drive huge 2-ton pick-up trucks or SUV’s, belching exhaust like the floodgates are open at Hoover Dam. Poisonous fumes fill the sky. The state bird really should be an asthmatic vulture.
So when you add in the triple-digit heat, the simple act of walking out your front door becomes an ill-considered act of self-mutilation. Within two steps, the gelid air has coated your skin, making everything slimy and unsatisfying. Now you understand what Karen Silkwood felt like, poor thing. Get done what needs to get done, then get your ass back in the house. Shower for at least 30 minutes.
4. The air conditioner never shuts off. Ever.
There’s that incessant drone that never goes away. No matter where you are in the house or what you are doing, you can hear the unit churning away, trying desperately to feebly pump slightly-cool air through the structure. Turn on every fan you have and pray for nightfall.
And try not to think about the electric bill. Any time something runs for that length of time, day after day, there’s going to be a financial impact. There’s not much you can do about it, so try to focus on other things. Like which of your relatives has been the least worthwhile in your life, and therefore could be sold for some ready cash.
5. Those dumb-ass misters on restaurant patios.
These things are only acceptable when you’re drunk, and therefore don’t care or don’t even notice that you are being continually spritzed. When you’re sober, they are completely annoying. It’s hard to have an important, gossip-filled conversation when you are constantly having to rinse and spit. And moisture on your food? Really, other than a certain kinky subset of the population, who really wants their buns wet?
6. Rude people actually ratchet up their skills.
Obnoxious people already have self-control issues. Apparently, in their twisted world, an increase in temperature apparently enhances their ability to offend the population in general. We’re all already suffering, folks, there’s no need for the attitude and the aggressive actions that just make us hate you more. Sadly, since these people are already sociopaths with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, they don’t care.
This is where our elected representatives should pass meaningful, productive legislation that allows the decent members of society to curtail the proclivities of the morally dead. I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to walk up to a police officer and say “That person over there? The one screaming into his cellphone with the intensity of a rabid donkey and pawing at his junk like the Hope Diamond is in there somewhere? He double-parked outside, left the engine running and the radio blaring, knocked over three children who already have abandonment issues, cut in line in front of a pregnant woman who is already dilated to a 6, made the cashier and everybody in that line wait 10 minutes because he wouldn’t put the damn phone down, and then he slapped a nun who was just trying to feed the homeless.”
At which point, in a justly-regulated world, the officer would respond with something like “you had me at blaring radio”, and then he would immediately handcuff the asshat and haul him away to some place where it’s dark and people cry.
7. Strangers ask stupid questions.
Amazingly-clueless fool that I don’t know, but he apparently thinks we’re tight enough that he can violate me with a Southern-fried query that makes me insane: “Hot enough for ya?”
Me, fed up: “Actually, no. I’d like it to be hotter. And how am I going to accomplish that? By setting your ass on fire if you dare to ask something idiotic like that again. Get the hell away from me. And get a vasectomy while you’re at it.”
8. Women who insist on wearing three inches of makeup when it’s 112 degrees.
Do you not understand that this makes you look like there was a fire at Madame Tussauds ? Seriously, honey, step away from the Bisquick and put down the trowel. I now know what happened to Baby Jane.
9. Moist loins.
And not the good kind, slathered with a savory rub and grilled just right. There is just something fundamentally dehumanizing about walking around the town square with wet underwear. This condition just makes all important errands and entertainment destinations obsolete. I don’t care if Pottery Barn just got a new shipment of scented futons. I’m really not invested in the updated menu at Red Lobster, despite the allure of the cheese biscuits. And I think I’ll live if we don’t get to see Cleopatra’s bidet at the Dallas Museum of Art.
I just want to go somewhere that I can pull this SpongeBob wedgie out of my crack and remember what it was like to be dry and not make squishing sounds when I walk. That’s all I ask.
10. Beer does not stay cold despite all efforts.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, trumps all. There is no surer sign of the Apocalypse than lukewarm beer. Get out while you still can…
(Originally posted in “The Sound and the Fury” on 06/05/10. Revised and edited with extra flair for this post.)