It is quite possibly a million degrees this week. I know what your thermometer says, some puny number like 101 degrees, but that is only because the thermometer doesn’t have the guts go any higher or you have one of those dial style thermometers and you missed the first 999,999 revolutions it made previous to your checking the temperature.
So what to do to cool off? You can envelop your air conditioner in the world’s biggest and longest bear hug, but maybe you and the air conditioner are not that close yet. You could ask the local grocery store if you could rent their produce cooler as an apartment for the next month, somehow I doubt they will evict the cherries and peaches for you. Or, you could simply be more reasonable and look to water as a way to cool yourself down.
Running through the sprinkler is always an option, but for a person like me, I have gotten clumsier and slower to heal as I have gotten older, so this feat of cooling coordination may not be for my feet any longer. One thing I have gotten better at as I have gotten older is swimming. I can swim faster and longer in deeper water now that I am older.
Swimming might be an option. I have my choice of the reservoir or Indian Springs so there is hope yet.
The problem with all forms of summer cool down involving water is they are somewhat spontaneous activities. Yes you can plan to go swimming next Tuesday after work but what if it is Wednesday and it is so hot you are making fun of the Thanksgiving turkey for being a wimp? Does it make anyone cooler knowing they will be going swimming in six days? No, everyone wants to be cool now.
So what happened to just dropping whatever is going on and turning the garden hose on yourself and the kids, or just walking into the reservoir and listening to the hiss of steam coming from your sun-baked brain?
The answer is: technology.
There are plenty of great things on the internet. Most of them unfounded urban legends, but even the unfounded cyber-chain letter can make a point from time to time.
I remember reading a story passed about several years ago on Facebook, just before the social networking site really took off and before anyone really knew what to do with it.
The story was about a man who was interviewed on his 100th birthday by a local reporter. As the story goes the reporter asked the man a standard question for the situation.
“You have seen so many things over the last century. You have seen the world go to war. You have seen a president assassinated, and a man land on the moon. Of all of the things you have seen and experienced in your life what is the most amazing thing you have ever seen?” asked the reporter.
The man’s answer is very telling even if he is a fictional character.
“People buying water,” replied the man in the story.
I had a similar moment about a week ago. A stunning realization of how something minor has changed the way we live our lives.
I was working in the yard and had the hose out watering some plants. It was nearing 1.5 million degrees and there wasn’t a part of me that was sweat free. The kids were playing in the yard and thoughts of spraying them with the hose flashed through my mind.
They had buckets and cups with them. All the ingredients for a class A water fight were in place. All that was needed was a spark to light this front yard aqua-Armageddon. There was the match, right there in my hand just watering the
peonies. I thought of how much fun we would all have, how cooling it would be for all of us. This was the best plan EVER!
Just as quickly my adult brain took over.
“You have a computer in your pocket more powerful than every computer used on all of the Apollo missions combined with room to spare. If it gets wet, it is nearly $700 to replace your iPhone out of your other pocket. Do you have $700 just lying around,” my adult brain taunted.
Well there goes the fun. Another great thing ruined by reason and responsibility. Not one to let go of genius I cast about for a solution. I realized in the collection of stuff I keep in my pockets was my truck keys.
So as smoothly as I could, not wanting to reveal my master plan of mass temperature reduction I set the hose down to run in the flower bed while I walked over to my truck, unlocked the door, emptied my pockets onto the front seat, checked the window was up and closed the door.
The kids had retreated to the backyard and I was sure I had blown the opportunity because I had to get the innocent and expensive technology clear of the battle zone.
After a moment lamenting the missed chance the boys came chasing around the house playing some game that only they knew the rules to.
I turned and with a carefully placed thumb over the end of the hose I fired, catching our seven year-old right in the back with the coldest water Pete Cortez and his crew could provide.
I think our nine year-old may have been hit by some stray water as they both continued around the tree and into the backyard retreating from my perfectly executed ambush.
I heard laughing coming from the front porch. There was my fiance watching the whole think like a picnicker at the battle of Bullrun. I turned the hose toward her and stopped. She was holding her iPhone up like a shield.
It is really sad when civilians are brought into a thing like this. Another good thing ruined by technology.
But the truth is I was being set up. As I tried to figure out how to spray their mother without dousing the phone, the boys came around the pine tree in our front yard and drenched me with buckets of water from the backyard faucet.
Eventually my fiance put the phone down and we took turns being in charge of the hose while the others chased each other around with buckets of water.
Twenty minutes later we sloshed into the house leaving wet footprints in the entry, feeling 20 degrees cooler, laughing and arguing with the kids that a water fight does not constitute a shower.
Decades from now I am sure historians will write about this battle-of-the-ages. I hope they won’t forget the role technology played in almost ruining this historically pivotal water fight.
I also hope those same historians will note: younger (and cooler) heads prevailed.