Sunday, July 7, 2013


Heat wave (noun) 1. A period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot and unusually humid weather. Typically a heat wave lasts two or more days. 
--The National Weather Service

“Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.”     
 --Mark Twain

Is it really hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk during this, the first big heat wave of the summer of 2013? As I write these words on the 7th , we are at five days and counting of 90 plus degrees since the 3rd.  This isn’t our first heat wave. That mini blast furnace began on June 24th when the temperature hit 95 degrees, tying a record set in 1976, but the wave only lasted three days. 

Steamy enough to cook an egg?  Well…not even close.  For that you need a temperature of 158 degree Fahrenheit and according to The Library of Congress website, concrete sidewalks can’t get much hotter than 145 degrees.  But that didn’t stop the folks of Oatman, Arizona from sponsoring their annual Solar Egg Frying Contest this past July 4th.  In that land of “But it’s a dry heat!” even there it is still not hot enough to sauté “l’ouef”, but…it’s pretty darn toasty. 106 in the shade today, according to the weatherman. 

But I digress from this, our current heat wave.  Funny thing about the weather: it always gives us something to talk about. Something in which there is really nothing at all at stake, no argument to be won, no political view to be bested, no point to be emphasized other than…it’s hot. So if you’re tired of talking about the latest from the Bulger trial (he’s a thug—case closed), the tragedy that is the Aaron Hernandez murder mess (never saw that coming) or the revolution in Egypt (military coup or overthrow of a theocracy?), you can always just bring up the heat.  

Try to avoid the obvious inane question, as in, “Hot enough for you?” Don’t even go there. Also watch out for other weather clichés like “hotter than hell”. posits “hell” as perhaps being located at the earth’s core which tops out at 11,000 degrees so we are not quite that hot yet.  Or even “hotter than a firecracker on the 4th of July”. Gunpowder burns at 801 degrees so we’re still about 710 degrees short.  And just for the sake of decency avoid all mention of heat stroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and especially heat rash.  Some things are best left unsaid.

On second thought let’s not even talk about the heat.  It just makes me hotter, hot and bothered, all hot under the collar.  Let’s be cool as we converse.  Recall just how cold it was in Boston about six months ago. On February 11th, the temperature bottomed out at 15 degrees and three days before, the blizzard of ’13 dumped 24.9 inches of the white stuff on the Hub. Can’t win for losing. Can’t do much about the weather but talk about it or better yet, just accept it. 

Accept the joy and the misery and atmospheric adventure of living in a place like New England. Think of all our poor friends in San Diego, California, the most temperate climate in the U.S., a place which on average never dips below 49 degrees or above 78, where it almost never snows and no hurricanes nor nor’easters threaten, where a really hot day is above 80.  What do they talk about?  The Padres baseball team who were just swept in three games by the red hot Red Sox?  Certainly not the weather. Not like us.

So…just crack a cold one. Crank up the AC. Put the fan on full blast if you got it.  Get a Dell’s Slushy Lemonade when you’re down in Rhode Island or a sloppy vanilla ice cream cone at C&L Frosty’s in Sherborn, right on Main Street.  Turn up the ballgame on the radio.  Jump in the ocean on Wollaston Beach.  Dive off the dock on Lake Winnipesauke and revel in the heat.  Then store that memory away for next January when you get all chilly about the weather.

It’s July in these parts.  It’s a heat wave.  Hot enough for you? Couldn’t resist.

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