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Ralph Gardner Jr: The Heat



Just as a forecast for a big snow storm fills me with expectations, the news was that a heat wave was coming last week triggered similar tension.

Of course, extreme heat is worrying, especially if you do not have air conditioning or clear shade and if you have older family members.

The heat is also more unfortunate in a city where everything like concrete seems to further enhance the effect. The most lively example of it can be stinging eggs on the sidewalk.

By the way, I saw it and it takes a temperature of 158 degrees Fahrenheit to cook an egg properly and pavements do not approach that temperature. You can still brush one on the sidewalk but worry about hygiene aside, it would take a while before it was edible, even longer if you like your over light as I do.

But there is something timeless, atavistic about the term summer heat waves. My father, who was in New York City and loved the heat, used to write us letters if it was hot and how lucky we were in the mountains or on the beach.

Part of allure of a good warm way, I suspect, it's like a good snowstorm to take you out of your own. It forces you to focus on bigger forces. It reminds you that in a world where we increasingly buy into the idea that humanity is the master of the master, only bitter players are in a much larger and more majestic production.

At the time this commentary air temperature is expected to have receded in just the eighties. But when I wrote these words, we looked forward to a couple of days to flirt with hundred degrees and several others in only the low to the mid-nineties.

So what did I do last Saturday morning? Clear brush. It was a moment in the house behind the house and I assumed it would be too hot for heavy work or work for the foreseeable future.

Think about what corresponds to the title of the supermarket to provide before a major hurricane or snow storm. Fear or at least worry can be a contributing factor. But there is also a famous component of sitting in.

It stretches backwards to a time, as I said when we were not a university champion.

Of course, air conditioning plays an important role in our attitude and relation to the heat. A few years back, I heard Kenneth Jackson, a professor at Columbia University and a distinguished historian in New York, the letters from my father where he painted New York as basically a swelling, abandoned kitty in the summer.

I suspect he exaggerated he could not have been happier than when the rest of the family left the city and he had our apartment and the town to himself.

But Professor Jackson pointed out that everything changed with the advent of air conditioning. Flying the city to the mountains or the beach suddenly became a recreational choice rather than a convincing necessity.

Perhaps no one caught the feeling of urban desolation better than E.B. Know in his famous essay, "Here is New York," written under a heat wave during the swarming summer of 1

949.

"At anyone who wants such queer prizes," he begins ", New York will give the gift of loneliness and private gift. "

While talking about the city in general, and at any time of the year, one can only help believing that his views were influenced by the fact that he, as he wrote, is currently sitting in a stifling hotel room in 90 degree heat, halfway down an air shaft in the middle. "

The heat has an opportunity to isolate and connect one – insulating in the sense that the movement becomes a luxury best not overindulged – connecting one with the knowledge that a humidity index, which brakes well over a hundred degrees, is shared by all sensitive creatures. 19659003] In fact, at this heat wave I wondered if birds and other animals felt as intense as we do. Whether they fly only when needed or taking a break from dug holes or raising lettuce in my collected beds.

I think that they think that we are all in this together. That we can agree if not much else, the shadow and a cool lady or stream to immerse yourself in is a heavenly thing.

Ralph Gardner, Jr. is a journalist who shares his time between New York City and Columbia County. More of his work is available at ralphgardner.com

The comments of commentators are solely the authors. They do not necessarily reflect comments on this station or its administration.


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