Sweat

I keep sticking to my chair.

My chair, a wooden antique with no arms, creaks every time I merely breathe. I have positioned us both directly in front of a fan that is turned on "high". But the humidity is 85% and so, despite the best efforts of the fan, sweat helplessly pools on the backs of my legs.

It takes me back to the sultry summer nights of a long ago childhood. Then, as now, my parents did not have air conditioning. No one we knew had air conditioning.

Air conditioning was something we experienced only at stores or the library. So, we'd sweat at home and then, needing a change of pace, my parents would drive the seven or eight blocks to my grandmother's house.

Once there we could sweat with her in her kitchen as she cooked a hot dinner on the stove. She'd offer us a popsicle to cool us off and then would chase us back outside where we were supposed to be deaf to the family gossip being discussed. We'd eavesdrop under her open kitchen window, then go snatch switches out of her bushes and, perhaps made temporarily insane by the amplified smell of her abundant honeysuckle and phlox, we'd beat each other with those long, thin strips of wood.

The heat and humidity surely made us do things that we shouldn't have, like giving the impoverished boy down the street from my grandma a nickel if he'd eat an earthworm. He wanted that money so badly that he devoured the worm completely, licking his lips when he finished. Later on in high school, every time he liked a girl I'd tell her the story and ask, "Do you really want to kiss the same lips that ate a worm?" Little did I know that shows like "Survivor" or "Fear Factor" would be so popular 30 years later.

On the way back home from such escapades, I'd once again sweat in the back of my parent's silver Mercury Monarch, my legs stuck to the red leather seat. If I shifted too much, a thin river of moisture would escape from beneath my thighs. I'd watch it trail it's way back to the hidden recesses of the back seat, sliding carefully into the crease behind me.

Now I only sit in an old wooden chair that groans under my weight, it's bones aching and slightly swollen like a gouty old man. And just as I did as a child, I'm sweating and sticking to something.

Some things really don't ever change, do they?

Comments

Anonymous said…
I'll be in Chicago tomorrow enjoying the sweat myself! Hopefully I can just dash from one air-conditioned building to the next. It'll make a change from Belfast where it's cool and rainy.
Jameil said…
i can't stand sweat!!! only allowed when working out. my grandma keeps her air off all the time IN MISSISSIPPI. people sit in there sweating until my mom gets there. she walks in the house and straight to the AC and cranks it up then fusses at her bros. for sweating in the house. hilarity.
Ian Lidster said…
I hate sticky. We've had a lot of that lately. One of the (gazillion) reasons I love Hawaii is because it's warm but rarely humid. Sea breeze takes care of that.
The worst I ever experienced was in Ottawa, our capital. The humidity was almost literally sick-making.
Anonymous said…
Ah … you take me back to my childhood with your description of hot days in LA … (living in flat roofed Spanish style stucco home that held the heat better than an oven but had a shady front porch that offered some relief in the evenings) … making me oh so glad I moved to the ocean when I could. I remember the sticky chairs so well and the fans we regarded as ‘air conditioning’ back then.
Hugs and blessings,
storyteller said…
Hmmm ... I tried to enter my Sacred Ruminations URL, but must have made a mistake because it didn't create a click-able link. Strange. Guess I'll sign in with my Google account so you know who I am ;--)
Hugs and blessings,
Anonymous said…
Los Angelista,
LOL! Love the memories. I think our parents, from a much more practical and straightforward time (mine are Depression era) considered the expense of AC (when it finally was commercially available) as an unnecessary waste. Funny, I’ve never purchased AC myself either, I just sweat.
But, me being “me”, I like hot and sticky! I even like those tough runs in it, when the singlet gets soaked and finally totally sticks to you. The salt dries out on the forehead and hairline. The crouch sweat stinks so bad, you can smell yourself. Lol.
But, in a total fit of TMI, the thing such hot sticky weather does to me is, uh, heighten sexual interest. Something about the middle of the dark night, two hot and sweaty bodies… Wow. I’ll stop here. No-one there but me though now, lol.
Anybody else feel the same way?
Single “I don’t eat Worms” White Daddy
Mango Mama said…
O.k., I must be the total punk in this group of comments, because although heat and humidity during the day may not be so bad, but I absolutely cannot sleep in the heat. I just don't rest well and feel beastly the following day. It does seem like you're handling it well though.
Jen said…
It's so funny, because this is a similar discussion to Chani's blog today. Like you, I grew up in a muggy city with no air conditioning. We played outside. We were kicked out, I think, so we wouldn't sweat up the apartments even more. And those who had fire escapes slept out there.

Hot, hot, hot.
Unknown said…
It was 107 degrees today up here in the Rancho Cordova section of Northern Califoria. Brutally hot, and no sun visible. The smoke from the wild fires is so thick right now that the sun looks like it took its own vacation. Since I'm considered to be high risk for a bad reaction to the smoke, I had to stay inside all day. I kept the AC going, and the back of my legs STILL got sweaty when I sat in one of my dining room chairs.

Triple digit weather is cruel to "change of life" women like me. I've had resort to sticking my head in the freezer more than a few times!

By the way, I'm tagging you, but it's not the usual kind of meme-type tag. The details are on my blog. :-)
Liz Dwyer said…
Nick,
Enjoy your time! Thankfully the steam bath seems to have diminished so you should have a lovely visit. It was just gorgeous walking around downtown yesterday -- hope you get to check out the Lakefront!

Jameil,
Mississippi with no air? Grandma is no joke! That's something else! Down South I hate how it's all hot and steamy outside and then sooo cold inside that you need a sweater.

Ian,
It was so sticky the other night that I couldn't sleep, which was bad since I have problems with that anyway. I've never been to Ottawa or Hawaii, but it sounds like I'd like Hawaii better.

Storyteller,
Blogger is so temperamental sometimes, isn't it? I remember when I first moved to LA, I didn't think an air conditioner was even necessary. A fan was more than adequate. The weather seems so much hotter these days, the sun so much more intense. It's why I believe in global warming. But right now I'm back in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana area and, although the weather has been pretty good most days, that spell over the weekend and Monday was heinously humid!

SWD,
You mean you've never enjoyed worm cuisine? I hear it tastes just like chicken. I think my parents just need air units in a couple of rooms so that folks can get some relief from the stickiness, but the cost is definitely something to consider. We didn't have air in our apartment in LA till last summer when it hit 117 degrees and we thought we were gonna die. So we begged our landlord to put one in. Fortunately, his daughter lives across the hall and he'd hooked her up already with one, so I think he figured he sort of had to give us one. -- And no one else said they feel the same way about sweat and sexual arousal. So I guess we'll never know! ;0

Mango Mama,
You're not a punk! I can't sleep in it either. I think I slept maybe two hours the night I wrote this. I just could not relax or get comfortable. And I don't like that slightly damp feeling that the sheets get. Ugh!

Jen,
I always loved that scene in Rear Window where that one married couple is sleeping out on their fire escape because it's so hot. It made me want a fire escape too. Things are so different these days. Folks are scared to kick their kids out of the house because their afraid some pedophile will come along and snatch their baby. So everybody wants air conditioning now.

Angela,
It's weird to be out here in the Midwest with all the fires going on because I only here bits and pieces about it. It makes me scared for October though because we're going to seriously burn when those Santa Ana's roll in off the desert. I'm glad you're staying in all day to avoid the smoke. I know the air has got to be so nasty. And I'll come see what you tagged me for!

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