hot town – summer in the city

my new a/c
a/c in it's proper place

a couple of weeks ago, i tried prematurely to declare an end to summer by having my "back to school" adventure and thinking that the heat had broken. i was brutally dismayed to find that the days of sweating through my shirts and baking to the core as i walked the paths of concrete that wend their way through the landmarks of the big smoke were not altogether done. however, it gives me pause to think about all of the progress that i made personally this summer to try and live with the twin perils of global warming and urban heating.

the first best thing that i did was to buy an air conditioning unit. i tried to balance the amount of energy that this beast would consume with energy efficiency features, like independently switching to running with the fan only, dropping the energy used by the compressor, once a tolerable temperature is reached, or shutting down completely if the temperature differential is small enough over a long enough period of time. ironically, i've only had to run it a few days (for the benefit of my cats) and a very small number of evenings (having spent so very many of my evenings this summer away from home). i think the least comfortable aspect of acquiring this creature comfort was its installation. but now that that's over, i have to stay in this apartment until at least next autumn so that i don't have to go through the whole ordeal again next year!

dressy sandals?

the next big advancement in personal heat-management was to overcome a 30-year animousity towards sandals and learn to tolerate/wear them. i've never liked sandals. i don't like feet. i don't like how they look; how toes point this way and that; how feet have the lowly purpose of connecting you to the ground. i don't like being reminded that i even have feet. curiously, i don't mind ladies' feet, but since i don't have ladies' feet, i have never been able to tolerate them. this summer, i bought two pairs of sandals – a sporty pair and a slightly dressier pair. i still don't like them, but i have to believe that wearing them has helped to conduct a fair amount of heat away from my body, rather than trapping that heat inside my shoes. my lack of familiarity with how sandals worked caused me to bind them way too tightly at first, causing them to blister and tear my skin. but with a few months of practice, i can now wear them without having to pre-emptively mummify my feet with medical tape. this has been a huge coup for me.

my fabulous wife-beater!

the final big step for me was to respect the wife-beater. there was a particularly distressing episode this month where i had to walk around to do some errands around 5pm in downtown toronto, and after 10 minutes of walking in 40 degree heat, i had sweat through my dress shirt enough to make it look like i'd just crossed the sahara. i was utterly and completely mortified. i headed into the downtown core and found the nearest store, a winners, and bought a three-pack of nautica sleeveless t-shirts. i walked out of the office tower where the winners was located, stripped off my shirt and put on one of those wife beaters and it was as satisfying and relieving as having a dip in a pool. i walked through the financial district in my dress pants and shoes and trailer-park shirt pleased as could be, looking like i had just lost my shirt in a poker game – but i couldn't care less.


i honestly don't know why i have such poor tolerance for heat. i'm in fairly decent shape, my heart works great, and i'm pretty far from obesce… i guess my body is just exceptionally quick to emply the time-tested method of ejecting fluid from my pores to try and evaporatively cool my shell. i just wish that i wasn't so damn good at it.

– g

song of the day for making the best of an all-too unwanted summer – one more colour, jane siberry