What’s everybody doing this summer? Besides melting into a sticky pool of sweat, I mean. When it’s 76 degrees at 1 a.m., I start to believe in global warming, y’all.
What we’ve had lately is “broiling in hell” hot. Somehow, we go about our daily business despite the stifling temps, and most of us don’t drop dead. It’s still miserable.
When I left the house yesterday at 8:30 a.m. for my daily run/walk/limp, the humidity was in the feels-like-a-wet-wool-blanket range. I wore a gray cotton t-shirt and gym shorts. When I staggered home pouring sweat 90 minutes later, I took them off and wrung them out over the kitchen sink.
That’s too dang hot, people.
I did do other things besides complain this summer. Widdle and I went to Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming, primarily because there are no swamps or oceans in those places and thus, no humidity.
I learned a lot on our little getaway.
I learned that you can take a big can of cashews through TSA in a backpack.
I learned that bars are filled with people drinking Bloody Marys before a morning flight.
I learned that the most comfortable seat on a plane is in the back row, and that I can eat a big can of cashews on a four-hour flight. (You should have seen Widdle’s face.)
I learned that too many people fly with yappy dogs these days.
I learned that if you trip and crash to the floor when getting off a moving sidewalk in Denver International Airport, people will gasp in horror and rush to help. (Yep— I fell so hard one sandal flew 10 feet. I landed on my left hip and was yelling at Widdle before I hit the floor. I thought it was, “Honey, help!” He swears it was, “Timberrr!” The only thing broken was my pride.)
I learned that going from sea level to a mile-high city will make you dizzy.
I learned that an upscale steakhouse in Cheyenne serves a terrific glass of pinot grigio for $3.75.
I learned, the hard way, that the top of Pike’s Peak is 40 degrees colder than the bottom of Pike’s Peak.
I learned that the tiny town of St. Francis, Kansas, has a fascinating motorcycle museum. We have zero interest in motorcycles, but popped in on a whim and stayed for two hours. (Google “The Flying Merkel”—it’s a thing of beauty.)
I learned that CVS pharmacies in Colorado are inside Target stores; that Kansas is flatter than the flattest flat you can imagine; that valet parking at Denver hotels averages $45 a night; and that when faced with an enormous free breakfast buffet, I can eat entire platters of yogurt, berries, oatmeal, eggs and granola. I had to lie down until noon, but it was worth it.
I learned there is a place like Kiawah in Colorado and it’s called Vail—it’s tiny and stunningly expensive. I don’t ski, but the scenery is gorgeous.
I learned that Breckenridge, Colorado, has thrift stores full of used bicycle helmets and streets lined with beautiful Victorian houses. (Also, souvenir T-shirts are much cheaper on the south side.)
I learned that you can drive for 75 miles on Nebraska back roads and never see a grocery store; that a post office can be the size of a telephone booth; and that my husband has awesome powers of concentration. I learned this when he drove 13 miles straight up a mountain while I mewled with fear in the passenger seat.
Julie R. Smith, who still has a lot to learn, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.