Although the temperatures this month aren't the usual summer ones, when the thermometer hits above 80 degrees, I begin to feel like the characters in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Remember the glistening bodies, the few clothes those characters wore, the stringy hair? I FEEL I'm in that story when the first perspiration pops out on my body.
The other day I told my doc that I didn't feel good after walking. That seemed to surprise him, but nothing I say to him should raise his eyebrows by now. I guess I was hoping he'd tell me to quit walking, but he didn't. He asked me how I felt after being in water aerobics, and I said "tired." I'm sure he didn't believe me.
"Once spring gets here I don't feel up to par," I said. "Hmmm, " he replied. Since I don't know anyone else who feels this way, I assume I would make a good study for medical students.
Hot Mississippi weather has always been my enemy. As a preschooler I wanted to stay indoors in front of the fan. The relief was like taking a quarter of an aspirin for a thundering headache. Relief-- just an arm's length away. I wore only sun suits in those days. The bedroom fan oscillated day and night. Fortunately, my parents recognized my plight and we moved to Denver, Colorado, where snow was still on the ground that spring of '35. Mother's only mistake was to take me a month after arriving to a doctor for his advice.
"Hmmm," the doctor replied, "I think we have just as much hot weather as you do in Mississippi. I don't see the need for you to upset your life to move out here!" He had just signed my slow death warrant. After the grasshopper plague, the Parents packed me up and returned to the home state. And since then I've struggled to survive.
I have had that doctor on my short list of people I dislike. He ruined me with a few words. I could have learned to ski, climb mountains, and slept nights with the windows raised if he had made a more positive statement. He enslaved me to the heat for the rest of my life.
For 20 years without air conditioning my mornings as a teacher began fresh, and within 15 minutes my makeup had slid to my toes, my clothes stuck to my perspiring body, and my hair had become as stringy as that of Blanche DuBois. I would have given my right arm to wear her slip throughout the day. Tennessee Williams knew just how to write about the heat of the South. It eats at your soul, sucks energy from your pores, makes you listless.
I should be happy now. But, I'm every bit of a hermit in the summer in the Deep South. My only escape is to the cool waters of the pool at the fitness center. I can't wait for our July trip to New York, where the heat lasts from 11 am until 3:00 and then Mom Nature cools the earth down so I can relax. She's my buddy.