Tag Archives: heat

Lame Adventure 383: Heat and Delirium

“It could be better but it’s not terrible.”

Approaching terrible.

Approaching terrible.

This recent observation by my colleague at The Grind, Godsend, about some holes we drilled through wood, could double as a single sentence summary statement about my entire life thus far. There’s always room for improvement, but if I become road kill under the wheels of a beer truck tomorrow, my 28,382,400+ minutes walking this planet have not all been entirely misspent excluding the fear, agony and humiliation I’d surely suffer were I to find myself flattened by a ten ton vehicle. Many of the nearly 16,293,600 minutes that I’ve lived in New York City have been okay, and thankfully, relatively pain-free. This excludes the emotional suffering incurred when my go-to market, Fairway, stopped carrying my all-time favorite summertime confection, chocolate dipped frozen bananas that they sold for two bucks Back In The Day. Oh, how I miss those rock hard bananas that, come to think of it, could also double as instant justice in lieu of a baseball bat. If A Mystical Being were to suddenly pop into my sacred space right now and offered me one of the following three choices:

A Mystical Being: You may resume committing your favorite consensual lewd acts to your heart’s content with Daffodil the Merciless, you may stuff yourself royally with chocolate dipped frozen bananas from Fairway for $3 each (price adjusted for inflation), or you may have your name fast tracked in the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Win $5000 for Life Sweepstakes and Pass On That Haul to Anyone of Your Choosing After You’re Dead, but here’s the fine print: the likelihood that you’ll be the actual winner is nil. What is your choice? Think this through. Choose wisely.

Hit the pause button. Mystical Beings, favorite lewd acts, frozen bananas, inane win-less contests, but back to favorite lewd acts: would I really prefer to lick a piece of frozen fruit on a stick over a willing cruel vixen? These days the sad but true answer is: yes. Where is this going, am I suffering a meltdown? Yes, I am! The mercury over here has been hovering close to 90 at midnight, and feeling closer to 100 during the day, with humid air that is thick and breeze-free. What do I think about this week-long heat wave?



Me: It is terrible and it could be better.

Exceeding terrible.

Going in the wrong direction from better.

I take no pleasure living in Hell. My energy is depleted. I now have three strategically placed fans blasting in my sweltering hovel* at all times — coincidentally inspiring me to rename my digs Fan Central Station. I rather like dry heat, but this humidity that engulfs me when I am walking two feet outside, making me leak two pints of perspiration that leave my clothes dripping wet and sticking to me like glue — not the most attractive image when clinging to runaway waist flab — has got to go. I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it. It impacts the order of my thoughts. Fantasizing about frozen fruit my market stopped carrying a decade ago should never, ever take priority in my mind over real or imagined naked fun. This is an outrage!

Meanwhile, I am now salivating over what frozen chocolate dipped blueberries might taste like? I wonder if Trader Joe’s carries anything like that?

*For anyone new to Lame Adventures, my modest abode is in a century old Upper West Side brownstone  is not wired for air conditioning. In July and August of every year it is still 1913 in my rent stabilized garret.

Lame Adventure 324: Mother Nature Flips Me the Bird

Following another productive day of unwinding paperclips at The Grind, I exited the 72nd Street subway station at 5:55 Tuesday evening.  I looked up at the temperature on the Apple Bank digital clock at 73rd and Broadway and thought:

Me (thinking):  I can’t believe it’s 94.

Believe it.

What compelled me to think that made no sense for it’s July.  July is always hot.  Some July days seem hot as hell. What would call for genuine disbelief is if the temperature was half that, 47.  Or 57.  How about 27 and snowing?  Snow in New York City in July would certainly be a global news top story.  The Big Apple had snow in October last year and en masse everyone was bracing for a winter worthy of Siberia.  In fact, last winter was one of the mildest on record. We had next to no snow all season.  Of course people were bitching about that.  I paraphrase:

Bitching New Yorkers:  Where the hell’s the snow?   It doesn’t feel like winter.

Back to the present on this seasonably hot July day that feels exactly like summer, sweat was surfacing from my scalp down to the soles of my feet and all body parts in-between.  Soon you could probably fry an egg off me.  A minute passed. It read 5:56 on the clock.  There was a correction that added validity to my disbelief.

The reward for staring.

I wondered if I continued to stare at that clock like a slack-jawed doofus for another five minutes would the temperature climb to 100?  I didn’t stand around to find out.

Lame Adventure 321: Sunday in the Park with Lola

It’s been a brutally hot summer in the city thus far this year.  Since I live in digs that are not wired for air conditioning, my queen-sized pillow-topped mattress that usually feels like the comfiest of clouds feels more like a grill pan over high heat these days. Yet who am I to complain about not having had a restful night’s sleep since May?  At least I reside walking distance from the oasis that is Central Park.

On Sunday, when the heat and humidity were a millimeter below sweltering, I visited the park with my friend, Lola.  We entered, took a wrong turn, almost crossed a triathlon’s finish line, reversed course, grabbed lemonade for her and iced tea for me at the Le Pain Quotidian near Sheep’s Meadow, exchanged yak about how that LPQ must be a goldmine, and then made a beeline for a shady tree where we promptly suffered that familiar middle age malady, CRS (Can’t Remember Shit).

Sheep’s Meadow sun bathers dotting Great Lawn.

Both of us blanked on the name of the famous landscape architect who designed the park.  Lola tried in vain to find the answer that was on the tips of our frozen brains on her iPhone but the Gods of wifi were against us.  Later, while I was batting away a bug the size of a hornet, Frederick Law Olmstead’s name popped out from one of the holes in my head.  Actually, Olmstead co-designed the park with Calvert Vaux, whose name I did not know until now, but I’m confident that I’ll be brain freezing on him as soon as I finish writing this sentence.

Sheep’s Meadow has often been a sea of sun worshippers.  The sheep were relocated in 1934 because (according to Wikipedia):

“There was fear for the sheep’s safety by hungry folk during the great depression. Officials were concerned that starving men would turn the sheep into lunch.”

On this hot and humid afternoon the meadow was not only sheep-less but also relatively empty.  It seemed that the shade had more appeal than the pursuit of skin cancer.

Sheep’s Meadow shade worshippers clustered under trees.

While we were sheltered under our tree we discussed the recent death of writer-director-humorist, Nora Ephron.

Me:  All that’s left is Joan Rivers and Tina Fey.

Lola: What about Kristin Wiig?

Me: Yes, I do believe I’ve just insulted her and Amy Poehler and Sarah Silverman among others.

Lola: One of my favorite books is Joan’s I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me.  The title reminds me of you.

Me:  I love that title.  I love Joan.  I feel honored that you think that.

While we were heading over to watch the players playing in the bocce ball courts, we encountered signs that free comedy was happening very near.

“Let’s find the bocce courts so we can find the comedy!”

Bocce ball is a very slow game prompting me to suggest:

Me:  This is almost as riveting as curling.

Bocce: a game that doubles as a sleep aid.

We then headed over to catch some free comedy.

Shade loving comedy audience.

The searing heat occupied the best seats, but we did stick around long enough to hear Ophira Eisenberg, a comedian that I had read about in The New York Times in April.  Getting to hear her perform her witty brand of topical standup in Central Park was very entertaining.  I particularly enjoyed her take about people getting her name wrong and guests visiting her in her fifth floor walk-up in Brooklyn gasping when they reach her door, “Do you do this every day?”  Performers like Ophira give me hope that the ranks of funny women are growing.

I left the park with Lola feeling good.  When we reached 72nd and Broadway my friend traveled south and I north.  Just as I was considering that I’m being a wimp about the heat — summer in New York can be truly wonderful, I crash landed back to reality.

Going commando.

Hopefully, it will cool down soon for all of us out here.

Lame Adventure 319: Baking in the Apple

It was very hot and humid all weekend, just the way I loathe it.  I don’t dare use my oven.  I’m eating so much rabbit food I’m nearing the point of scratching myself behind my ear with my foot.

Salad days.

This is the situation: I reside in an electrical inclusion brownstone that used to exclude air conditioning for all.  In recent years my building’s management began rewiring vacated apartments so that incoming tenants can have air conditioning.  They also pay obscenely higher rent than me. My sanctum sanctorum was wired in 1917 for little more than a kerosene lamp, a battery powered kazoo and public access TV stations that I never watch.  In years past, I frequently had companions I could crash with on extremely hot and humid nights.  My Current Companion has air conditioning and a roommate that is as immobile a fixture as a refrigerator so basically until September, when temperatures cool, I’m stuck suffering solo in my sweat lodge.  My Current Companion did meet me for dinner in midtown – and little else:

Current Companion (reasonable tone):  We don’t have to have sex every time we hang out you know.

Me (morbid tone):  We don’t?

Current Companion:  Sometimes it’s just nice to talk.

Me:  Talk about what, us not having sex?

One thing that was discussed was my fan situation, and I’m not referring to you, my seven loyal readers.  Shortly after I returned from my West Coast getaway, my beloved sixteen-year-old Vornado fan, which I admit had been showing signs of death for nearly a year, died.  None of my fan whispering techniques worked in my attempts to revive it.  These techniques included everything short of me doing a fan dance — shaking it gently, coaxing the blades with my steel letter opener (to avoid slicing off a digit I might need to use later) or turning the off/on button on slowly.  The hum the motor used to make was silent.  Frustrated I cried:

Me:  Please work!

My Beloved Vornado Fan:  I’m dead bitch!  I ain’t never gonna work again!  Don’t you get it?  You need to replace me!

Put that way, I went online and researched Vornado fans because I am brand loyal.  I also happen to have a backup Vornado, but it’s not an air circulator (Vornado’s preferred term for their fans) that could work the entirety of my garret.

Little workhorse Vornado fan that’s multidirectional and can blast air 65 feet.

During my research I discovered that Vornado now makes a tower fan.  When I was visiting my sister, Dovima, she had an oscillating tower fan that felt pretty good, but it was not a Vornado.  The Vornado tower fan doesn’t oscillate:

Vornado Tower Fan:  You don’t need no stinking oscillation!

The Vornado has a wide cooling zone so it blasts a constant span of airflow.  That works for me.  I did further research and I learned that my local Bed Bath and Beyond had the Vornado tower fan in stock.  It was selling for $99.99, but I created my 437th G-mail account to score a 20% off in-store coupon.  Including New York’s 8.875% sales tax the total came to $87.09.

The challenge was getting it home.  The box seemed to be taller than me, if I stood three and a half feet high but it was light, weighing around fifteen pounds.  I knew it was going to be bulky and I considered asking my companion to come uptown to help me get it home, but I knew what she would say:

Current Companion: Oh. My. God. You are so stupid! Just pay seven dollars and put it in a cab!  Promise me that you won’t carry it home yourself.  You’ll pull something or collapse.  Take a taxi!

Yet, I’d rather invest those seven shekels in a before noon movie screening at my local multiplex and then slip into another screening unnoticed since all women over forty have the invisibility gene.  I have yet to see Brave!

Realizing that it would behoove me to avoid this discussion with my companion, I didn’t seek her advice, I kept my seven clams pocketed and I decided to carry my ten-foot-tall-seeming Vornado tower fan home on a city bus.  I just made sure that all the senior citizens boarded ahead of me, but when a young woman tried to hop on before me and my tree-sized parcel, I flashed her my “not gonna happen” look and breathed a little fire.  She got the message.

Upon exiting the bus, I still had to carry my tower fan a short distance.

New Vornado tower fan resting outside my building. I am offscreen inhaling oxygen out of a tank.

Once inside my building, there was the Everest aspect of the journey, trekking up three flights of stairs without banging it constantly into the walls or against the doors of fellow tenants.

Where’s a sherpa when I need one?

If I encountered anyone annoying enough to ask me what was in my box emblazoned with pictures of the fan within, I was prepared to quote the old Woody Allen line, “Earrings.”  Fortunately, I made it into my apartment without bickering with anyone or straining anything.

New Vornado tower fan standing proudly inside my sanctum sanctorum. Offscreen, I am lying in a fetal position on the floor.

I set up my new tower fan quickly.  It has a remote control that is a nice accessory but it fails to work if you point it at yourself instead.

Warning: pointing at self will not activate tower air circulator.

Now, ten days later, as I currently bake, unlike others on the Atlantic seaboard at least I have electricity in my room full of steamy air blowing all around me.  Yet, fall and hot food and the return of hot companionship cannot come soon enough.

World class hot air circulators.

Lame Adventure 197: Temperature Wars

Much of the country is in a heat wave.

Channeling my inner Bill Cunningham, interesting sun bonnet from behind.

On Thursday, temperatures in Gotham City reached a high of 96, but the heat index – whatever that is — the “real feel” temperature (?) made it feel more like 102.  All I knew was that it felt hot as a kiln outside.

My go-to source of weather news, the sidewalk on Greenwich Street.

Thursday was also the day when I inconveniently left my quart-size Cold Brew iced tea bottle at home, but I did remember to bring a new box of tea.  I realized this snafu as I was hotfooting my way up to the subway station, running late as usual.  There was no time to return to my sanctum sanctorum to retrieve this vessel I value on the level of my glasses, cell phone and camera, nor was there time to purchase an overpriced inferior iced tea on my way into work.  The most practical solution for me to savor a caffeine fix would have been to sit at my desk and chew on one of my new tea bags, preferably with the tag hanging out of my pie-hole, but I resisted pursuing that course of desperate action and was in a predominantly foul mood until my 1 pm feeding.

My boss, Elsbeth, had a dental appointment and arrived around eleven.  Outside my window I noticed that the usually bickering pigeons I call Israel and Palestine perched on the air conditioner have called a temporary truce and are actually sharing the space in peace.

Israel and Palestine making nice.

As seen in the above photo, Israel does not even have the energy to stand, or possibly it was further weighted by the humidity.  It is at this same time that Elsbeth starts fiddling with the thermostat, one of her favorite pastimes all year round.  I hear her repeatedly turning buttons on and off.  She shifts the gage from 72 to 85 announcing:

Elsbeth:  I’m cold.

Instantly, I can feel my body temperature soar.

Me (screaming inside my head):  Christ on a cross, woman, it’s the hottest day of the fucking year, open your window!

Me (saying in a helpful cheery tone):  Just open your window, Boss.

Elsbeth (epiphany):  That’s a good idea!

She returns to her office and opens her window.  I hurdle my desk and slap that gage back down to 72.  A few minutes later I have to visit the Accounting department three floors away.  When I return, I see the gage has been raised to 79.

Hands off!

I emit my trademark monosyllabic sound effect that’s a cross between a gasp, a sigh, and an acid-reflux induced retch.

My colleague, Ling, is looking flushed.  She’s wearing a tank top and her hair is puddled atop her head.  Chilly Elsbeth is wearing cargo pants and a long sleeve tunic.  I must remember to suggest she bring her fleece or a wool blanket.

Ling (definitive): It feels hot in here.

This is due to the heat wafting in through Elsbeth’s open window.  I give up the fight and announce that I have to run an errand.  I step outside into the soup and invest 26 cents into the purchase of a single banana, my contribution to reviving the stagnant economy.

Even the Dominique Strauss Kahn stalkers in the press abandoned their posts across the street from his lair, it was that hot. They completely missed DSK standing in his doorway clad only in flip flops asking for maid service.

Lame Adventure 73: It’s Not the Heat It’s Definitely the Stupidity

Welcome Home!

My building, which was erected shortly after the Mayflower docked, has bad plumbing.  For the third day in a row, the hot water has been out, and Building Management has been stymied when it comes to fixing it.  Finally, someone had a daylight moment and realized, “We need to replace some parts!”  Probably it is just the hot water “on” switch … Possibly, it is something a bit more complicated than that, but I am suffering some agitation so I’m feeling surly.  In addition, I am the only tenant in this brownstone of eighteen apartments who has reported the problem every day from Day One.  Building Management thought they fixed it twice this week to no avail.  Either all my neighbors are out of town, or they are all subscribers to the Saturday Night Bath Club, or they just assume that I’ll do all the calling.

Considering that it’s been the hottest summer in years, in theory, the hot water being out is not as much of a crisis as if it was inoperable in the dead of winter, but even when it’s 85 degrees outside, I’m not a proponent of taking an icy cold shower on any day of the year, much less three days straight.  I might feel different about this situation right now if my shower stall was outdoors, but this is a residential neighborhood on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  Everywhere I look there’s either a small child or a large retriever on the prowl, so if my shower was located in the great outdoors of the West Seventies, the peace might be disturbed with sounds of terrified wailing and agitated barking.  Maybe French women in my over-40 under-death age group have the capacity to stay in shape by just walking and eating sparingly, but I’m only a touch French, and very American, so most of me has a fondness for laying around, drinking too much, and eating in front of the TV.  It’s a long way from Juliette Binoche-ville over here, but easily just an arm’s reach from brioche-land.

Yet, I am not intending to do any exhibitionist showering, so dwelling on this lunacy must be a side effect of cold shower delirium.  I just long to take a comfortably tepid shower instead of what I have been doing first thing every morning since Wednesday, staring a heart attack straight in the eye with every hair on my being, including my eyebrows, perpendicular and frozen.  On some level though, this longing for heat in a summer that rivals the fire in hell does seem perverse.