Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Century Mark

The century mark: 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The whole city seems to be moving in slow motion, as if it was under water, which is true in a sense. That is, if sweat can be considered water. Even the traffic is slogging along. The light turns green, and there seems to be about a five-second hesitation for the eye-to-brain-to-foot connection to get in gear. Usually, no sooner does the light turn green than the guy behind you honks.

The drivers coming off shift looked wrung out, as if they'd just crossed the Atlantic trapped in a shipping container.

"How'd you do?"

They shake their heads and groan. July is a slow month anyway. The heat just makes it more punishing.

"Good fucking luck," one says as he hands over the keys.

After four minutes behind the wheel my back had soaks through and fuses to the car seat. I have to lean forward gently to peel it away from the vinyl every time I punch the meter. By the end of the first hour, it feels as if I was sitting in one of those kiddie pools. Keep moving, I tell myself, drink plenty of water and seek out cab stands in the shade. Ducking into a 7-11 for a bottle of water and I have to push through a crowd of people standing around just for the air conditioning. Probably the same crowd standing around in February just for the heater.

I have no proof, but I think the crime rate must go down in this heat. Who has the energy? The news, of course, is all over the story. Drink plenty of fluids. Seek out air conditioning. Never leave a loved one in enclosed automobile (Duh! Oh wait, that's me.) Still, there are plenty of jackasses jogging along the Charles, preparing for the long-term effects of global warming.

The Red Line breaks down--again. There's a trainful of commuters stranded on the Longfellow Bridge. Poor bastards! I can only imagine what the mood (and aroma) inside the stalled cars is like. Of course the T says nothing to those stuck in the stations. After waiting around for 50 minutes, they start to drift out into the streets to hail cabs. They're ticked off, of course, but things could have been worse for them--lots worse.

An Indian guy gets in. He's dressed sharply in a business suit. Unlike nearly everybody else, he looks completely unruffled. "I just flew in from Singapore," he said in lilting English. "This really is not so bad."

Really? End of conversation.


  1. Get yourself one of those beaded car seat covers.
    It keeps your back off the seat.
    Boston is a fine place.

  2. What's interesting is that while there are fewer incidents of certain types of crimes, especially property crimes, there's always an increase in street violence. I think it's generally spurred by the fact that a lot of people are out of their homes trying to cool down on the stoops and corners in neighborhoods like Dorchester and Roxbury, where air conditioning is less prevalent.