Sunday, June 8, 2008

Top 5 Ways to Beat the Heat


For the first summer since I was seven I find myself without air conditioning. Who knew Boston could get hot enough to make you want to sit in the freezer? Aren't I supposed to be living in New England? My third floor walk up apartment seems to have converted itself into a sauna without asking any its tenants so now we are forced to take drastic measures in order to keep the maddening heat at bay. If anyone else out there can relate to the uncivilized nature of life with no air conditioning, this list is for you. These five steps keep me from going insane and melting into a puddle, so heed them well.

5. Rooftops- Laying flat on your back on a rooftop at dusk is both enlightening and refreshing. Watch the sunset, the heat lightning in the distance, and the wind from whatever body of water you are closest to will save your soul. Beware, if you go up on the roof before the sun begins to set you will find yourself nursing some burning skin that rubs against the sheets at night and makes life a bit more miserable. This trick is meant to be used with caution, but bringing a book and some lemonade up on a roof at just the right time of day can ease your sweating and give you a peak at life with circulating air.

4. Wearing as Little Clothing as Possible- My roommates and I have completely given up on looking cute or even presentable. In the face of such heat all we can do is put on the same pair of shorts everyday and the thinnest t-shirt we can find. We look like children from the eighties, wandering around with our hair up, over-sized t-shirts and flowing skirts. Things like jeans, blouses, anything that is form-fitting or covers too much skin are abandoned in our attempt to feel air on our skin. Laying on your couch practically naked and still sweating, you wonder if you'll ever feel cool again, but for an interesting combo you could even try some naked roof time.

3. Freeze Everything- From clothing to fruit juice to bottles of water to wet towels, putting things in the freezer makes them instantly more tolerable. Also, instead of just drinking some liquid that goes from cold to luke warm in mere minutes, freezing drinks and filling ice trays with creative combos of juice, soda, crystal light, lemonade mix, anything you can come up with really, can make the long days a bit more tolerable. Unlike eating ice cream all the time, which I tried and ended up just getting sick, eating and wearing frozen things is like coming up for air in a pool of hot water.

2. Avoid the Sun- It might look cool to sit in the sun with sunglasses on but you'll regret it when you start to peel and realize your dead skin is mixing with sweat and won't actually come off. I've found that direct sunlight is the enemy in the battle against heat and growing up in heavily-wooded forests has not helped me build up much of a tolerance. Now I follow the shade, crossing streets at problematic moments to run from the evil of direct sunlight. Remember people, having a tan, or in my case a burn, just makes you feel hotter- temperature wise- and no matter how cool you think you look, self-heating skin is the last thing any of us needs.

1. Cold Baths! - Sitting in pools of your own sweat all day can make you feel pretty gross, so you're probably going to be taking a lot more showers anyway. But I've found that sitting in a cold bath for an hour or so serves two purposes: you get to feel clean for at least an hour out of every day, depending on how many baths you take, and you get to feel cool, until you get out and realize your bathroom still feels like a sauna. I can't go the whole day without a nice long bath anymore and I find myself wishing I could spend the whole day in ten inches of water, periodically draining and refilling the tub. If these steps don't help you to cool off you can also cut your hair out of frustration with the heat, but you'll be covered with little pieces of hair and you might end up looking like a victim of some reality show competition.

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