Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Less heat, please
Boiling afternoon air.
Okay, a last whine about the heat. At least for a spell. The heat wave is expected to break tomorrow, so we've got a final day of this steamy tropical airmass. Everyone I talk to has a story about the heat. Most of the city's residents live without air conditioning since it's rarely desired but for a few weeks per year. What that means is that more than half the population hasn't slept well in a week. Everyone, including myself, is on edge, tender and prone to fits of irrational behavior. To whit, I came upon yesterday a young man who was having a heated dispute with a bus driver about the validity of the young man's transfer. (You must use a transfer issued from a point of your trip's origin, therefore, you cannot use a transfer from the metro station that you exit from) The problem, heat aside, was that the bus driver didn't speak English perfectly, and the young man spoke no French and could not understand the rules written on the transfer itself. I entered the bus as the two were going at it:
"No, you can not use the transfer for a bus that deserves the metro." the driver explains.
"But I got the transfer from the metro! It's a transfer!" the young man, incredulous.
"Look at the back," says the driver, " It's write you don't take bus that deserves the metro."
"What! this is bullshit, I take the metro and get a transfer and get out to take the bus, where else do I get the transfer?" he shrieks, inflamed.
"You don't understand French is the problem," the driver bluntly but hotly delivers.
"Fuuuuuuuuuck You!" the young man shouts in finality and storms to the back of the bus to take the seat.
At this point, I wondered what would happen and I watched the bus driver who seemed just charged up enough to get up and expel the young man, but the heat had her way and convinced him it wasn't worth the sweat. Then, in an "I don't know what came over me moment" I got up and went back to where the man was sitting and looked at him. I thought I would just explain it for him and maybe he would go apologize or something. But he wasn't inhabiting the same world as I and looked up and said "Get the fuck away from me, man." I envisioned myself putting my hands around his neck and screaming "Pull your head out!" but instead went back to the seat I like (on the left side, near the front).
Adding to the heat is the problem of stink. As in body odor. Because the deoderant is overpowered by about 3pm. The evening rush hour is a tunnel ride of hot sweaty stench, and the little kids hold their noses. (Okay, I think, I don't need to visit India) Then, unfathomably, while taking the last train to home last evening, someone farted in the crowded car. A really searing, ripe one. While no one did just this, I imagined us all clawing at the windows and doors to get out. And bright flashes of anger charged through me at the insensitivity of whoever laid upon us this forced inhalation of the contents of their rectum! I wanted to shout, "Okay, who did that!" and then what, I don't know. But that's how anger is, blind to the future.
But there are little gifts too, like the picture above taken near sunset. I found myself envying the little town situated under that cooling shower. We only got a few sprinkles, but they were cool drops of pleasure on the skin. And I've discovered the usefulness of a cloth hankerchief, great for dabbing my sweaty forehead and temples. And finally, I'm grateful that I don't live in Florida.