Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's not the heat. It's the humility.

Holy melted gum under my shoe, it's hot!

As in soupy, drippy, stagnant humidity that hangs in stifling 90+ degree temperatures. This is ridiculous, even for a pretty tough California girl familiar with 103-degree summers. But growing up in the Bay Area, if you complained about temps spiking over 100, people were like, "At least it's a 'dry heat'." And then I was all, "Omigod, huh? Like what do you mean?"

But now I totally get it!

Humidity was a foreign notion until I moved to NYC. Yet I have lived here long enough to now have a huge beef with the third "h." (TV weather people here think it's cute when it gets like this to call it "the three 'h's": hazy, hot and humid. Maybe they think fewer people will go nutso and punch random strangers if the weather has a moniker.)

Besides the obvious mind games humidity plays with my hair (I have many times been lulled into a sense of security while inside my apartment, thinking it was okay to use a hair dryer - only to walk out my front door and instantly turn into Rod Blagojevich on what he would consider a good hair day), it also turns on the sweat glands by like a thousandfold. And I have super active sweat glands. I sweat like no woman ever has before. I sweat so much that early on in my training with Lynne, I had to finally address it when my hands slipped off the mat during pushups. It was like my level of perspiration had become the big sweaty elephant in the gym. I tried to chuckle it off: "I bet I'm you're sweatiest client!" I knew when Lynne wouldn't meet my eyes and just gave me an unconvincing "No, not at all ..." that I had actually just become her sweatiest client.

I also sweat in the most adverse conditions to sweating. Like, say it's 15 degrees outside. I'm bundled up, shivering, walking to the 4/5/6, which is only a block from my apartment. By the time I get to the platform, heat will be emanating from my scalp. And by the time I am on the train, surrounded by huddled masses all trying to keep warm with body heat, I am maneuvering my bag to create a pocket of space-slash-air-slash-no-human-contact around me, nonchalantly patting the beads coming down my face. People notice this. Not that I care, but I am usually the only one fanning herself during a blizzard.

The only other person who totally gets this? Is my friend Claudette:

Not sure why we're so simpatico on this. Is it because we're both Italian? Capricorns? Totally judgmental but absolutely right in every instance? Whatever the reason, I know when I update my Facebook status, grumbling about the stupid MTA keeping the heat on in the trains in February (how brazen they are in their idiocy!), Claudie will always give me a sympathetic "UGH! Bastards!" in response.

But Claudie is not with me on my runs. You know who is? Hundreds of unknown New Yorkers. Half who cock their heads as they pass me, wondering if they need to find a park police officer and a stretcher. The other half trying to just steer clear of me in fear that my ponytail might fling a few wet drops their way.

Last week was particularly brutal. I started out with a small perspire but by the time I was a couple miles in, my shirt was drenched and I was feeling quite dude-like. I had to stop wearing anything other than black shorts since colored shorts - plus my ability to sweat from even unknown pores - equals looking as if I had wet myself. At least once when I rolled in from a run, my doorman, not taking his eyes off me, slowly put his hand on the phone, knowing 911 was just three short digits away. (And don't think I didn't hear you: "Crap my shift is almost over please don't drop in the lobby please don't drop in the lobby crap crap crap ...")

In the end, I'm always glad to finish a run strong, no matter what the weather. Wise men and women have long extolled the virtues of sweat, noting that anything worth the effort is going to take gallons of it. So there's the bright side of sweat: by sheer volume of wetness expended, I'm obviously working my butt off.

(And for the record, an even wiser man named George Carlin said "don't sweat the petty stuff and don't pet the sweaty stuff." Not applicable here ... but still way funny.)

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