June 9, 2011

Feeling the Heat

The heat is on. Yesterday was 100°F, and today doesn't look any better. One of the ladies in the office said when she walked outside at lunch it was like being in your kitchen and opening the oven door. I let the dog out this morning at 5:15 a.m. and immediately felt the thickening air settle onto my skin.

They say the key to surviving extreme heat is to drink plenty of liquids, avoid prolonged exposure to the direct sun, and don't over-do it. But I think surviving extreme heat (or extreme cold) is as much about the head as it is the body. In Joseph Conrad's classic, The Heart of Darkness, Marlowe goes to a French physician to be checked out before his trip to Africa. He received this advice for dealing with the constant heat:
'Avoid irritation more than exposure to the sun. Adieu. How do you English say, eh? Good-bye. Ah! Good-bye. Adieu. In the tropics one must before everything keep calm.' . . . He lifted a warning forefinger. . . 'Du calme, du calme, Adieu.'
  Still excellent advice: Cool it!

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