Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Three Horrid H's

When I was a teen on a farm I was a member of the 4-H club -- our substitute for the Girl Scouts, at least in our part of rural America. I learned many domestic skills, cooking and sewing chief among them. The H's stood for Hands, Heart, Head and Health, which was something one knew but which didn't figure into the program in a memorable way. I only start with this bit of social history because I have been forced to focus on the three Horrid H's that beset New Yorkers this time of year: a frequent weather forecast, "hazy, hot and humid." The last two days have been just that and so were several days last week. The chorus one hears constantly, "it's not the heat, it's the humidity," is SO true.

I come to my un-air conditioned apartment and "go Polynesian", i.e., I strip, shower and wrap myself in a sarong that I tie so that it doesn't fly open too revealingly -- although that doesn't matter much, no one sees me in it. But I know on days like this, in a most immediate way, why it is I am in no sense drawn to Amazon cruises or rain forest hikes, or, indeed even to those Polynesian islands, nor to anyplace equatorial. It's the humidity. And the creepy crawlies, largely the snakes but I have no love of flying insects, nor of most skittering ones either.

I see in the newspaper today that some group is tryiing to make the B word as politically incorrect as the N word. This is appropriate in the so called "dog days of summer." Although I'm not sure that bitch is any worse than the many other words men hurl at women when they're angry at them. It's directed at any or all women, and doesn't seem to discriminate by race or class and often not even by peresonality type -- at least in the mouth of an angry man. The timing is what struck me, really.

Speaking of the paper, the "old gray lady", otherwise known as The New York Times, raised it's newstand price from $1.00 to $1.25 last week. This week the paper itself has diminished by about 2 inches in both height and width. We are lead to believe it will contain the same amount of news and advertising, all slightly smaller. I didn't see much diifference today. Things change in tiny increments and this is one of them. One can only take notice and sigh. And say as Kurt Vonegut wrote at the end of many a chapter of [I think it was} Slaughter House Five -- that terrifying masteppiece from early in his career... "so it goes." And so goes a scattered post on a hazy, hot and humid evening at the height of summer.

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