Everyone in Austin has been complaining about the heat lately.
Apparently we’ve had temperatures well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the past couple of weeks. I say apparently because I’ve barely noticed it. I mean, sure, I can tell it’s hot. But I like it hot. I love the heat. I like to sweat.
I lived in Michigan for nine years and even though the economy sucked and I got laid off from a job I loved one of the main reasons I moved back to Texas was for the heat. I couldn’t stand the cold any longer. There is something about going through eight months of winter that will truly drive a west Texan insane. I just couldn’t take it any more. I had to get out. The cold would get inside my bones and I’d feel like I was going to die if I couldn’t feel some sunshine and a little sweat dripping down my back.
I love the heat. I love it when I get in my car and it’s been baking in the sun and I get the rush of warm, packed sunshine injected into my body. I love feeling the trickle of sweat down my back and across my brow.
I was recently reminded by my mom that we didn’t have air conditioning for several years growing up. We lived on a ranch in west Texas, many miles away from civilization. So granted, we didn’t have any additional factors adding to the heat like pavement, buildings, or car exhaust. But still, we had west Texas sun beating down on us daily. I don’t even remember ever thinking about the heat. Perhaps I did. I probably even complained about it. Or, perhaps that’s why I love it so much.
Austin heat isn’t quite perfect enough for me though. It’s not ideal. A dry heat is what I love the most. The heat in Austin isn’t super muggy. But it’s not dry enough for me.
It’s not really humid, not like Okinawa, Japan where I lived for three years with my ex, who was stationed there in the USAF. When we first returned to the states, we’d laugh to hear people complain about humidity. It was so humid in Okinawa, sometimes the air would become so engorged with water that it would just rain for five minutes or so, then go back to being hot and sticky. In Japan, you couldn’t move outside without feeling like you just took a shower with your clothes on. We lived through several monsoons too.
Austin isn’t anything like that. But still, not as dry as I’d like.
Where I grew up, in and around Abilene, which is in west Texas, it was a nice, dry heat.
The heat out there is the kind of heat that makes you feel closer to God, or perhaps, the Devil would be more appropriate of a metaphor. It closes in on you. If you close your eyes, you can feel the heat pressing against your skin.
I’m not talking about sweat, or sunshine, I’m talking, heat. Standing outside in the hottest of hot days in west Texas, you can feel the heat in the same way you can feel the heat coming off of a fire.
It gets so quiet on hot days like that out in the country, all you can hear is crickets buzzing and heat striking the earth and drying the dirt.
If you sit outside in that kind of heat, you sweat, and you begin to feel like you might become one with the heat so that you can take it.
I miss that. I miss that heat. That soul sucking, soul searching heat. It scorches you right to the bone and stays with you forever.
I know. I’m crazy. Go ahead and say it. But I like it hot.