August 07, 2007


I am so sick of sweating.

July and August are the worst months in NYC if you ask me. During this time, high temperatures usually average in mid to low 80's with relative humidity above 75%. This doesn't sound too bad, especially since I did grow up in a swamp in south Georgia without air conditioning.

In the years before I left for college, we spent hot, humid days sitting under the ceiling fan. As a kid, we would laze about in woods, usually up in the trees to take advantage of any errant breezes. Some days I would go to my cousins' house and we'd play video games in their house, which had air conditioning, a sprinkler on the roof, and tin foil in the windows. (I'm related to some colorful folk.)

When I left home for college, I have only ever worked and lived where there is central air conditioning. Yes, the heat was still obnoxious, but you could easily escape it.

In New York City, most apartments do NOT have central air conditioning. This is pure insanity to me, but we all have these stupid, inadequate, noisy window units. Almost every day I expect someone to be killed by one of these monsters as it plummets from a window to the sidewalk below. So far, I am a terrible psychic (as far as I know) but I hold out hope that on the day that I am right, fulfillment of my prophesy will be accompanied by the news that the woman who pushed me and swore at me on the subway this morning died a violent, painful death by blunt force trauma.

Last summer, I don't think the constant sweating bothered me as much as it is this year. Last year, the AC in the office broke and I had to contend with a stupid window unit at home. Last year, I even walked to work several days and I have several discolored t-shirts to prove it.

Maybe it's because I've spent more time in the subway this year.

The subway in NYC in the summer is like a sauna except hotter and steamier. The steam is produced by the evaporation of urine. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that not all the urine is human.

I'm just SO tired to sweating.

Our apartment is hot and humid; only my room ever approaches a temperature I prefer my apartment to be. When I go to the kitchen, I sweat. When I go to the bathroom, I sweat. I take cold showers to lower my body temperature so that I'm not sweating while also trying to wash. I can't fix my hair at home because I sweat.

I sweat on my way to the train station. I stand at the station sweating. I stand on the train pressed against the other passengers and sweat. I soak up some of their sweat and wince at the sensation of their sticky skin pulling away from my sticky skin. I sweat as I get off of the train. I sweat as I make my way to the surface.

On the short walk to work, I sweat. And for the past week, the air conditioner in the office has been broken -- again. So, I sit in my cube and sweat.

At lunch, I go to the elevator, which is not air conditioned either, and I stand amid other sweaty people and sweat. I sweat walking down the sidewalk to the place where I get my salad for lunch.

I fret over ordering anything with mayonnaise.

I walk back sweating and I sweat in the elevator again. I return to my cube to sweat some more.

I sweat for the rest of the day and repeat my commute in reverse only with more sweating because by that time I don't have the benefit of fresh morning breezes or my cold shower.

When I get home, I have to wait for my undersized AC to cool my room off. In the meantime, I sweat.

I am SO sick of sweating.

I am happy to say that yesterday afternoon, they did fix the office AC, so my cube is nice and cool now. No, NOW I'm sitting in my cube feeling the salt from my sweat dry on my skin. I'm also taking note of the fact that my underarm hairs are stuck together in a gooey, humid mesh of deodorant and, of course, sweat.

I don't know if the city makes the heat and humidity worse. Maybe the concrete, steel, and windows block the wind and trap the heat. I know that big cities do have higher average temperatures -- a fact that global warming alarmists like to both ignore and cite to their advantage.

I was about to call them "global warming enthusiasts" because that is more accurate to the wild-eyed glee environmentalists exhibit when talking about how unsuitable people are for habitation of planet Earth. I didn't, though, because I prefer to think of myself as a global warming enthusiast. If the price of civilization is planetary destruction, then sign me up for that twice. I digress.

So, I don't know if the city makes the heat and humidity worse, but I do know that it is pretty miserable.

Oddly, it was the winter in Georgia that really bothered me. Here, I don't seem to mind the cold, rain, or snow. Last summer was actually my first experience with New York as a city that experiences temperatures above 50 degrees. Every time I had been here before the weather was cold and snowy.

But by far the best time of year to be in NYC is autumn. Immediately behind that season comes spring in terms of pleasant weather. It's August. We're close, but we are still so, so, so many sweaty days away.

Why can't someone make my commute to work involve a slip-and-slide?

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at August 7, 2007 10:20 AM | TrackBack

Wow! How uncivilized. Here in Phoenix EVERYONE and EVERYWHERE has Air Conditioning. Every house, apartment, business, library, and vehicle comes automatically with A/C. Even the poorest people have “swamp coolers.” No dealership would dare to try to sell a car that didn’t already have A/C in it. There are hundreds of refrigeration companies out here, and most of them can repair your A/C within an hour or two. Here in Phoenix it is rare to find a place that has central heating. Most houses and apartment complexes have outdoor swimming pools. As a matter of fact, it is very rare to find an indoor pool at all. We don’t have trains yet, but all of the busses and taxi cabs have A/C too. Life in the desert (where 122 degrees is not unheard of) would be unbearable without Air Conditioning.

Now, if only someone could figure out a way to keep the inside of my vehicle cool while it is parked out in the heat. It can easily go over 200 degrees in a car, and I absolutely hate burning myself on my steering wheel and my seatbelt buckle. I can sympathize with how much you hate to sweat, because even though the A/C in my small truck cools off the interior quickly, it does nothing to prevent my back from sweating against the warm seat.

Posted by: Tiberius at August 7, 2007 11:01 AM

Remind me NEVER to visit New York City in the summer!

Posted by: Tiberius at August 7, 2007 11:06 AM

"Uncivilized" That's exactly how I feel about it.

NYC also pisses me off because a majority of the apartment buildings in the city, while they do have central heat, do not afford you the luxury of controlling the heat in your apartment.

In buildings with stingy landlords, this means that on the first few weeks of cold nights, you freeze because they don't turn on the heat. Then, if you live on an upper floor, all winter you sit around with your windows open to let out the heat.

It's insane.

Posted by: Flibbert at August 7, 2007 11:44 AM

It's miserable here in the swamp - heat index 105. Worse though, is that the A/C is so cold in my office that I end up wearing a sweater while at work.

I vaguely remember the A/C going out in high school and having them cancel classes - or am I crazy on that one?

Posted by: tonya at August 7, 2007 11:57 AM

I would rather it be too cold in my office than too hot. I can bring sweaters upon sweaters to keep warm and learn to type with gloves on. But people get offended when my pants come off. So, I'd much rather it be cold than hot.

You are not imagining things. The AC did go out in highschool and many classes were canceled, but if you were a bus rider -- as I was -- you had to stick around because the buses weren't there yet. Sra. Salgado held our 5th period class in the hall. It was a miserable attempt.

Posted by: Flibbert at August 7, 2007 12:37 PM

I agree with you. I’d much rather a room be too cold than too hot.

In most businesses (like where I work) there are dress codes. Even in the summer these workplace standards prevent me from wearing my tube-top and Speedos in the office. As a matter of fact, it is required that I wear a shirt, tie, slacks, and dress shoes every day.

My problem is with the skinny bitches that work in the same offices. They are always complaining that the A/C in the building is too cold. As with most of the offices that I’ve worked in, the airflow is not distributed evenly throughout the building. This means that there are some cooler areas and some warmer areas. Anyway… these female coworkers of mine often manage to have the air turned down by someone. When this happens it gets warm and uncomfortable for the rest of us.

I am sick and tired of people treating these skinny bitches as though they were precious and fragile little princesses. It doesn’t matter if everyone else is sweating, just as long as the skinny bitches aren’t complaining that it is too cold. My opinion is -- if you tend to get cold in an office setting, then quit wearing spaghetti-strapped dresses and open-toed shoes to work!!! I have frequently offered to buy them some thermal underwear to wear under their regular clothes, but they just laugh me off.

Why is it always the anorexic and anemic women that seem to get cold all of the time?

And don’t get me started on how unfair it is that they get to wear skimpy short dresses in the summer while I am trapped in a shirt & tie. I’m not even allowed to roll up my damn sleeves!

Posted by: Tiberius at August 7, 2007 02:47 PM

Wow, I never knew that NYC was so terrible in terms of basic human comforts. Given the metropolis that it is, that's amazing.

Cities are significantly hotter than the countryside -- by about 5 to 10 degrees in my experience. I've lived comfortably without air conditioning in rural areas most of my life (in MD and now CO). I wouldn't do that in the city though: the difference in temperature was always very apparent in driving into the city on a warm day.

My understanding is that cities are warmer because (1) they absorb more heat (due to roads and other dark surfaces), (2) they generate more heat (due to air conditioners, cars, and other heat-generating machinery), and (3) cities trap more heat (due to the blocking of breezes by buildings).

I worked one very sticky summer in DC. That was enough for me! I had it good though: everything but the outside air was properly conditioned.

Now that I've lived in Denver for a few years, I have almost zero tolerance for humidity. Even SoCal feels muggy to me!

In any case, I hope it cools down soon!

Posted by: Diana Hsieh at August 7, 2007 02:48 PM

Tiberius I live just south of you in ol'Tucson, and I was just about to write the same thing as you! Heh. Cheers to our shared civilization.

Posted by: Marnee at August 9, 2007 08:01 PM
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