I looked at the weather app on my phone last week because the heat and guessing the high for the day has almost become a parlor game. It was 7:30 a.m. and already 90 degrees.
Ninety degrees — at 7:30? What would it be like by 5 p.m.?
A few days earlier, I had attended a house concert in a friend’s backyard.
The concert was scheduled for 7 p.m, at which time the temperature was expected to be 102.
Before the concert, I soaked my shirt in the sink and ran cold water over it, wringing it out so the shirt wouldn’t drip downward. A wet shirt is one thing but wet shorts beget too many questions.
“That man’s shorts are wet. Do you think he’s had an accident. He is certainly approaching the age when that sort of thing is not unthinkable.”
"No, my shorts are fine. They’re wet because my shirt dripped but no one believes that.’"
I saw Bob, a friend, at the concert. He was wearing a lovely blue polyester shirt that looked like it was going to catch fire if he moved too quickly between the appetizers and his seat.
"Bob, try my program,” I said. “I know it sounds funny but come into the bathroom with me and let’s get your shirt wet."
It was an odd request, had an awkward feel to it and could have been misconstrued, but Bob followed me into the bathroom, removed his shirt, soaked it in cool water, wrung the excess water out and then put it back on.
He left the bathroom with a big smile, a smile that also could have been misconstrued had there been somebody waiting outside who wanted to use the bathroom, but fortunately there was not.
“You’ve changed my life,” Bob said.
A wet shirt on a hot day will do that. Now pass it forward and pass it wet.
After 28 days over 100 in July, I have a better idea. Start by wetting your shirt and other articles of clothing and then put them in the fridge or the freezer.
In order to do this, remove everything from the fridge, storing the perishables in a coffin-sized ice chest. Pull out the top shelves and insert a coat rack for the hangables — your shirts, pants, dresses and light sweaters. Leave in the crisper and the meat drawer because they are good places to store your underwear and socks — socks on one side and underwear on the other.
Slide your shoes into the circular inserts where the wine is normally stored. Chilled shoes and socks will lessen the incidence of hot foot.
After outfitting the fridge, fill the freezer with more clothes to be used if the temperature soars above 105. Below 105 — fridge, above 105 — freezer.
I recommend a side-by-side but given how hot July has been and how hot August has begun, it may make sense to buy one of those home meat lockers, the kind you use when you buy a 400-pound pig at the Kern County Fair.
Speaking of which, the fair is about eight weeks away. Expect relief. You will have earned it.