Saturday, August 6, 2011

Past Deadline: Get a Cool Job

Last week, as the mercury climbed and the population suffered, it occurred to me there isn’t really a heck of a lot to do when it’s hot. Well, I suppose there is, but there are also a lot of restrictions on things like, well, doing stuff outside.

Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. I mean, people were still going out running when the humidex was in the high 40s. Not me. I wouldn’t do it – not even without a kilt.

I suppose it stands to reason that in a country where we endure extremes, we should be allowed to complain. After all, few countries in the world can boast hitting minus 45C in the winter and plus 45C in the summer.

That’s just annoying.

Some folks spend all winter griping about the cold and the snow, only to spend all summer saying, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”

So, even though the weather has cooled a little since last week, I figured it couldn’t hurt to think about some ways to beat the heat should the hot breath of heck blow on us again. Here are some of my ideas:

1. Stay inside. It’s a yucky idea, but it has to be said. Sometimes, especially for the young, the elderly, the frail, the people with health conditions and the cranky, the heat is just plain dangerous. Unfortunately, staying inside and enduring the SpongeBob marathon on television can also be dangerous because it stomps all over your last nerve.

It’s important to have a game plan for inside, especially one that involves doing things away from screens. Since baking cupcakes is not ideal when the world is on fire, maybe making sundaes would be better. Or fill a bathtub with ice and stage a fundraising summer polar plunge! Or maybe lie around with large fans and pretend you are on some sort of exotic journey! I dunno.

2. Thing is, summer is about being outside, so the more ways you can find to survive the heat outdoors the better. So get a pool! Have I mentioned this (in an entire column last week) before? Okay. So if you can’t have a “real” pool, then get one of those blow-up wading pools. We have the one that is six feet long by four feet wide by two feet deep or thereabouts, and it can be handy. The kids love it, but I remember spending a heck of a lot of time sitting in a similar one when I was pregnant with child number two during a hot summer. In fact, I think I really need to make better use of our wading pool. With a little imagination, my real pool-“covetation” issues will be a thing of the past.

3. This seems to be a logical place to suggest drinking lots of fruity adult drinks, especially ones with the little umbrellas. As much as it seems they would help to beat the heat, we (ahem) grown-ups know alcohol can dehydrate us and probably we shouldn't drink a lot of it around the kids anyway. Drink water instead. This public service announcement has been brought to you by....

4. Here’s an idea – get a cool job. I mean get a job that has air conditioning or a walk-in freezer. Become a lifeguard so you can go swimming or at least find a job that offers the promise of a refreshing swim at the end of the shift.

I’m thinking of when I was a gate attendant at a provincial park as a student. It was so nice to hit the beach at the end of a shift! Does anyone hire 40-year-old gate attendants? Of course then I would bore the rest of the gate staff to tears with stories about how “In my day, we didn’t use computers to register campers, we filled the forms out by hand! And when they found a campsite, we stuck a sticker on a big map to show it was occupied! And we liked it! We loved it!”

Well now that’s a sure-fire way to make a cool job not so cool. It also makes those fruity adult beverages sound really good right about now.

Well, off to the wading pool!
Published in The Perth Courier, July 28/11

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