On heat

The Ann Arbor of many university alumnus’s memories is remembered as frigid, bitter cold, perpetual winter. The commonly termed “quintessential college town’s” environment completely metamorphoses during the summer, when campus empties itself of most of the now-brain-dead students and the majority of the schools staff and faculty in a sudden evacuation, like the spiraling remnants of expired bathwater down the porcelain drain. These students miss a few glorious weeks of enchanting weather timed perfectly as the flowers explode as fireworks and a hue of vivid young green overtakes the landscape. For those short weeks, Ann Arbor is enchanting. But mostly, what’s unseen beyond the scope of the academic year is a wretched, dismal, persistent heat that renders the city downright unpleasant beyond the boundaries of the freon-blasting store fronts.

Temperatures reaching above the 100˚ mark in June combined with Midwestern humidity can make some days utterly miserable. It is genuinely incomprehensible how so many people can live comfortably in Georgia, Florida, and the like. There’s no doubt I’m a frosty Northerner at heart. Yes, tropical Thailand is going to be..interesting, to say the obvious. A test of limits if nothing else.

During the normal summer heat wave in Ann Arbor, the air hangs densely and relentlessly. If you’re unfortunate enough as to walk past a bus, the sweltering exhaust that envelopes you is alarming and although fleeting, feels eternal in that moment. When you’re unlucky enough as to spend more than a quick moment outside, you’ll notice the conversations and comments from the general public are only complaints and grievances about the sweltery atmosphere. It strangely produces a certain camaraderie amongst the citizens. Although grumpy and sticky, passing strangers bond on the sidewalks over mutual discomfort rather than pronounce their interactions as irritating. Customers step inside the stores as a respite, gladly buying any cheap item in exchange for a glorious blast of cooled air.

As painful as it may be, accepting an inevitable and constant layer of dried sweat beneath a second layer of freshly forming perspiration becomes necessary. It’s best to admit defeat and carry on as if your forehead were always slicked and shiny, as if you never knew the sweet wish for a cardigan on a cool evening. In the worst of it, even the dark of night cannot permeate the heat and you lay motionless on top of the covers, actually feeling your skin perspire, leaving your recently showered in ice water skin slowly and inevitably heat to uncomfortable warmth. Sleep is out of the question. All limbs splay in carefully calculated distances from each other. You can only hope this makes a difference.

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