hot time, summer in the city

It is early o’clock, and it is a thousand degrees out. My brother’s apartment is on the top floor, and so the thousand degrees outside translate to a million degrees inside, hovering like a low, red mist around our feet, with teeth and claws, which crawls up our bodies and wraps itself around our hearts and slithers into our lungs and slowly begins to choke the life out of us, inch by unpleasant inch, as the heat does. We spent most of last night lying spread-eagle on the futon in the living room, all our covers thrown across the room, as naked as it is possible to get in your brother’s apartment with your brother in the next room without feeling a little weird, praying for breezes or death.

Jesus Christ, I hate the heat. And while I respect the sanctity of the Bride’s Special and Perfect Day and her right to a Perfect June Wedding (which, of course, was so perfect and lovely), I do not respect my own self for not considering the fact that spending the week in New York after the wedding, at the flaming tail pipe of June, would be among the least bright ideas I have had.

I have never been good in the heat, ever. That was how I was built, all
delicate and wilting, ever since I was a small, round, wee thing. Thank
you for taking me to Disneyland, Aunt Betty! Can I please stay in the
hotel room? No? Can I have a beer? What do you mean, I’m only eight?
Jesus Christ, I hate the heat. It is a problem to hate the heat when
you grow up on the East Coast, what with all the weather they’ve got
out here and the business. You’d think you’d adapt and grow as a
person, become someone who thrives in her climate, like a little weed.
But I was a fat little weed, and I was always, always miserable in the
heat, hating that I couldn’t cover up my body without being miserable
and dreaming of winter and skiing and maybe also a little of hot

When I found out–and I actually remember finding this fact out, the
very moment I had this revelation–that other places had different
weathers, that you didn’t have to suffer through five months of this
shit, that there were magical lands where the climate was temperate and
the summers were even cold? I almost died of the happiness. The idea
that somewhere, there was a perfect place. Someday, I would live there.
Hello, San Francisco. I love you.

Goodbye, San Francisco. I am spending a week in your evil twin. But now
that I’ve lost a hundred and mumblety pounds (I have no idea how many
it is, and am curious, actually, if my feast this weekend added them,
or my tragedy in the bathroom subtracted them, or if it just ended up
as a wash, in the end), isn’t that supposed to fix all matter of
physical ailments? Like diabetes and bad breath and hypertension and
poor hygiene and sleep apnea and awkwardness in social situations. Some
of the ones I was most looking forward to, quite frankly, were
"relieving pressure on the joints," "fitting into smaller, enclosed
spaces" and "not dropping small, valuable objects that then roll away
and fall into the sewer, never to be seen again." The one I never had
to think of was "not being so goddamn fucking miserable in the heat,"
because of that whole living in a sensible climate thing I had going
for me.

But damn if I didn’t think, "Oh, this won’t be so bad!" when I realized
what we were flying into. "I am so magically practically skinny! The
heat will bounce right off me, and then turn tail and run, whimpering.
Being less fat makes you a living, breathing air conditioner! I will
share this gift with the world!" And then, I napped. And then, I woke
up in New York, took one deep breath and choked on the sizzling evil
that was the air. Jesus Christ I hate the heat.

Of course, if I were a hundred something pounds heavier, this would be
harder, more unpleasant, maybe impossible to do. I wouldn’t be walking
down the street, complaining about the heat, wah wah poor me; I’d be
sitting on the curb, gasping for breath and praying to God I wouldn’t
have a fucking stroke. I am fully cognizant of how wonderful it is to
have the wherewithal to bitch "walking ten blocks just made me so
uncomfortable!" instead of "walking this one block made me have to stop
and call the hospital. Please let the ambulance be air-conditioned."
But still, you know? You’re fat, and you spend all your time thinking
thinner people have it made. In the shade, if you will (which you will,
because that’s comedy!). It is pretty disappointing to learn their
lives are not perfect. Unless the problem is I haven’t lost enough
weight. Fuck.

However, at this instant in time–sitting on my brother’s couch in the 3,000 degree heat and wishing to God he had ice cubes, which I
would pour into a barrel and nail myself inside of–I am here to tell you that my preliminary supposition,
subject to revision in the future, is that weight loss, while it may go
a long way toward improving your quality of life in a number of
arenas, will not solve all your problems. You will certainly become
more interesting at parties, have better luck finding parking spaces
and getting reservations at exclusive restaurants, will win small
amounts from scratch-off lotto tickets on a consistent basis and never
run out of toilet paper. But I am here to report that the heat still
works, no matter your size, and life remains deeply unfair.

10 Replies to “hot time, summer in the city”

  1. I hope my story becomes your story.

    I always, always hated the heat. I dreaded summer with a vengeance. As a fat girl, summer clothes were not my friend. But, truly, no matter what I wore, I would sweat an ungodly amount in even the slightest elevated temperatures (men sweat and women perspire, they say. Ha, I say).

    And I LIVE in New York City, so you know my pain! (As an aside, I have been to your lovely adopted city, once, and I was there for apparently the only heat wave in modern history–it was up near 90 degrees and humid the whole time I was there! God finds humor in my suffering, apparently.)

    Anyway, as I lost weight, the temperature wars changed. I am now sitting in my office, shivering. Because of the air conditioning, obviously (as you are well aware, it’s in the mid-nineties in NY today), but just as proof that I cannot tolerate coolness and love warmth now, my coworkers have their fans on, and I sit here with a portable HEATER aimed at my bare legs, because my kicky little summer skirt, so cute and seasonal outside, is the bane of my existence in here.

    I am trying to remember exactly when it happened, how much weight I’d lost, what the number on the scale was when I turned toward summer with a happy heart for the first time. I’m sorry, I really can’t remember. But it came. And you will just have to trust me, NO ONE hated the summer heat more than I.

    So there is hope! Come back to NYC next summer and I promise you will not be miserable!

  2. See, now I’m hoping it’s the humidity, not the heat. Because I loathe humidity with every fiber in my being, fat or thin. West coast heat no longer destroys me, but I haven’t been back to the east coast since my DS, and I’m assuming that even if I weighed minus 20 pounds, the humidity would still lay me low.

    Close your eyes and think of England … I mean, of SF with its summer fogs.

  3. East coast here, and the heat just makes me cry. In the winter, you can always add a layer; there’s nothing comparable for the heat. Size 18, size 4, in between, I HATE the heat with a miserable, heat-hating misery.

  4. “at the flaming tail pipe of June…”

    Lordy, Anne, your writing makes me swoon. Half the time I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or send you all my money.

  5. What Anon. said… At 250 lbs, I was so fucking hot ALL the fucking time… I mean, I live in Mpls and I slept with the windows cracked in the dead of January, because otherwise, I just sweated nonstop.

    I am still not IN LOVE with the heat and humidity, but it really doesn’t bother me as much anymore. it’s 100 and humid in Mpls right now and I happen to BE in san Francisco on business, and while it’s absolutely beautiful here, I left my dinner engagement tonight shivering in my lightweight sweater and jeans, I was FREEZING all day in an indoor meeting, and I found myself thinking “it would be nice to be sitting on my hot patio right now.”

    It gets better… you DO adjust… drinking a ridiculous amount of water helps me to stay cool, and I eat more fruit and vegetables than anything else, and that helps me keep cool too (higher water content).

    Hang in there!

  6. Send Anne your money! In small – or large – unmarked bills! It will bring good heat karma – I’m sure of it!

    Actually, I’ve been fortunate enough to really notice a difference in humidity, which, like Deluzy, I loathe, since the weight loss. Anne and I were switched within 10 days of each other, but for myself, I’ve noticed a monumental shift in how I can deal with humidity – in controlled environments – without going totally troppo and possibly maiming or injuring a bystander/fellow-sufferer/heat worshiper. That said, I do feel best in my native climate here in the SF area. Just don’t ask me how I feel about it in Sept/Oct. It gets plenty sticky in Oaktown then.


  7. Now I know I am a weirdo – I swear to you I am sitting here in a sweatshirt and furry slippers and wouldn’t mind a lap blanket. Since losing so much the air conditioning is too much for me. I am actually fine and heat-resistant outside. Somehow I turned into my grandmother, always grabbing a sweater “in case they have the air on.”

  8. The humidity and heat sound disgusting. I guess it does make you happy and thankful that you live in SF. I know I’m glad I don’t live too far from there, myself. (For many more reasons than the weather, btw).

    I’m dying to know — how did the yellow bridesmaid’s dress of doom look? Maybe I missed where you posted about it?

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