Monday Notes: 4 Ways to Function in Extreme Heat

chicago_skylineDwight and I went back home for about ten days. When I say “home,” I mean Detroit for him and Chicago for me, where we were both born and raised, respectively. While there, Midwesterners experienced extremely hot conditions. For them, this meant mid-90s, with 50% humidity. For Dwight and I, who’ve lived in Florida for over twenty years, it meant…summertime.

All jokes aside, we really were not uncomfortable and as I began to observe everyone else, I could understand why they were. There are certain things you probably should do when it’s unbearably hot.

#1: Wear shorts and stuff. I’d packed several pairs of shorts and tank tops because that’s how I dress during summer months. In fact, my father-in-law off-handedly commented about the size of my shorts. “That won’t take long to iron,” he said. And I thought, yeah…cause I’m dressing for the weather. However, others weren’t. You wouldn’t believe how many people I saw walking around with black jeans and dark long-sleeved shirts complaining about how hot they were! I was taught long ago not to wear dark clothing during the summer because it absorbs heat. But I’m not so sure everyone learned this rule. Trust me. It might make the weather more tolerable.

#2: Exercise indoors. When we arrived to my aunt’s house, I was happy to see her in some above-the knee clothing, but when I complained to her about the guy I saw during his midday jog, she had this to say, “We’ve been waiting all winter for warmer weather. We want to be outside!” I get it. But jogging outside around noon, under the blaring sun is not what’s best. Use your gym membership. Get your run in when it’s sundown, or better yet, when it’s sun rise. The weather’s cooler and you might not suffer heatstroke.

#3: Turn on the air conditioner before it gets hot. The primary reason we were in Detroit was for Dwight’s cousin’s wedding. Her nuptials took place in a humungous church. You know the kind of brick building that takes up an entire city block? Well, the wedding was beautiful, but our sweaty faces and underarm pits were not. It was hot as hell in there! Can I say that about a church? They hadn’t turned on the air conditioner until the morning of the wedding, and given the size of the church, I’d say it probably wasn’t cool until Sunday school. The same thing happened at the reception. In fact, her cake began to melt and lean to one side, all because the air wasn’t turned on in an appropriate timeframe.

#4: Drink lots of water. One year, my best friend visited and asked me, “What’s up with the bottle?” She was asking about something that I’ve done for several years now, carry bottles of water everywhere. No matter what, you’ll always see me with a bottle of water either in my car, on my nightstand, or in my hand. I drink water all day long because it’s always hot where we live. And at the risk of sounding like a PSA, “drinking water helps replenish the fluids lost by excessive sweating. If you don’t get enough water, you may become dehydrated, and the combination of hot temperatures and dehydration can lead to serious heat-related illnesses” (Very Well Fit).

And in the immortal words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

I know I’ve partially made light of extreme weather conditions, but seriously, if you’re in a part of the world that doesn’t normally see high temps, take heed to some of these rules. They just might save your health.

*Fall and Death

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Why can’t we welcome death the way that we welcome fall? Each is a transition of sorts.

Autumn is more beautiful and less hurtful. Remnants of reds, oranges and yellows are comforting, even if leaves are dying. Fall symbolizes cooler weather and special spiced lattes. It represents pumpkins and caramel apples.

While a person’s life may be celebrated as magnificent, rarely is his or her death.

We can anticipate fall. This year it began on September 23rd at 4:21 A.M. The almanac predicted and told us when to prepare for our weather’s shift. We can arrange a convenient time to pack our shorts and sandals and replace empty drawer space with sweaters.

But we can’t do the same with loved ones. After all, no one knows for whom the bell tolls. Plus, friends and family hold a special place in our hearts. People are irreplaceable. Summer yields a different emotional connection. Sure you can love June and July and what those months bring, but not like your favorite aunt. So although fall is a sort of onset of death, it will always receive a warmer welcome.

Should we stop comparing nature to life’s events? Or should we begin seeing life’s transitions as we do other natural events? The answer isn’t clear. The answer rarely is.

*This is inspired by a few memes I saw comparing fall to humans’ physical death. It’s also something I’ve been thinking about because a lot of celebrity preachers use nature comparisons to inspire. I’m still trying to figure out if comparing these two is really appropriate. Feel free to comment as I work it out.