"Sweaty Musings", or "Thoughts on a Hot August Day"

The morning stretched out before me, ripe with possibilities.  I considered many of them, while the morning passed into afternoon and I sat clicking away at my keyboard.  And I get after the kids for spending their lives on the computer…Easy to do, actually.  Too damn easy.

A walk was needed, and the road beckoned.  There was a Red Lobster meal and drinks from last night to burn off, and I had procrastinated long enough.  I knew the day was going to get toasty, with temps in the 90s, but since this is the lush-and-green Willamette Valley, I had faith that there would be the odd zephyr to cool me off.  So with that hope in mind, I set off, my route taking me about 5 miles roound-trip, with a side-trip to Costco.

I hadn’t even crossed my own street before I knew that the air was not going to be cooperative.  In the past few years I have gotten highly sensitive to humidity; before I touched the other curb, I could feel the thickness in the air.  Which was weird, because there was not a cloud in the sky.  But I was breathing air pudding–and not my favorite flavor either.  Dust–not a top-ten seller.

One thing about me, though: once I make up my mind to go for a walk, not even the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse could hold me back.  True, they might try to dissuade me, but I would simply take them over to the Moose Lodge and pay for a couple of rounds of drinks.  Keep ’em busy for awhile while I sneaked out and finished my route. 

I plodded on.  The sky was a peculiar shade of “off”.  I suppose there was a vague idea of it being blue, but it looked like old, faded memories.  Grey/blue/something else.  No zephyrs, whispers, fannings, flutterings…no anythings from the wind.

Some memories, some knowledge of long-ago days watching the Weather Channel for its novelty, crept into my conscience.  And I got a pretty good idea of what was going on around me, at least to my satisfaction.

A few days ago, we had a pretty good wind coming out of the east, bringing warm, high-desert air along with it.  That and its groupies, mainly dust and whatever remnants of wildfire smoke and ash there might have been on the east side of the Cascades.  Once it got here, all that stuff made a few half-hearted attempts at getting blown out of the area, but soon gave up.

In short, Smog parked its butt in the valley and can’t get out.  And all those cars and stuff are fattening it up but good.

Within a mile, my eyes were watering and my lungs were jumping out and beating me over the head with a bat.  Where it got the bat, I don’t know.  Probably used my appendix or something.  But still I went on.  There were things I wanted to see and do, and wimping out simply because two of my senses were at critical just wasn’t holding water.

Nice Lady let me cross the road at the I-5 overpass while she waited at the front of a line of four or five cars.  I was very appreciative.  But someone honked at her, which I thought was rude.  I considered giving the whole lot behind her the old stink-eye, but it would just look like I was blinking sweat out of my eyes.  True, but they didn’t need to know that.  Besides, why waste my time being snotty at them when I can come home and blog about them instead?

I’ve discovered something about myself–I can get pretty nasty when I’m thirsty.  When I finally reached Costco and entered the store, my first thought was the water fountain beside the restrooms.  I headed for it like someone might go for an oasis in the desert.

There was someone at it.  My second thought was, “kill…” 

Well, not really.  There were options, so she was safe.  If necessary, I could do what my mom used to do–go into the bathroom and pull out about two miles (uh, feet…) of paper towel, roll it into a cone, and fill it with water.  It would hold together just long enough to get a good slurp–unless you were real slow or the paper was real cheap.  The it was just embarrassing, as the paper’s edge gave way, fell off your lower lip, and water sloshed all down your front.  Thanks Mom…

The fountain blockage moved away, just as the mirage kicked in.  All of a sudden it was Black Friday, and the water fountain was the last Tickle-Me-Elmo in the tri-county area.  If anyone else even came CLOSE to it, I was not responsible for what happened to them! (Told you it was hot outside…)

Finally, the water.  I enjoyed a good mouthful or two, before I heard footsteps behind me.  I’m not sure, but I think I growled.  Could have been the water fountain making sudden-emptying noises…

Sated for the moment, I took the usual tour through the warehouse.  The folks who do the samples, my daughter and I call “hairnets”.  So it’s a hairnet hunt.  I get a kick out of the guys with beards–they have to put a net on their heads and across their faces.  Why not a beekeeper’s helmet and have done with it??

What I do not find amusing is the wide array of warm samples they are handing out.  When you have been walking out in 90-plus degree weather, they are not too appetizing.  But that’s okay–more important to burn off calories than to add to them.  I’ll be back another day–then those goodies will be in true peril.

My favorite part of any journey–the homeward-bound leg.  I had a choice in the Costco parking lot–go up the teeny twenty or so stairs, or just go to the back of the lot and skinny around the safety gate.  Well, I chose the stairs–a few more calories burned.  A quick stumble up, and voila!  I’ve burned off two mouthfuls of Mudslide from the night before.  And the stairs are teeny–I don’t know; maybe there was a quota of steps to be made for that day.  Anyway, they could have made the stps just a little taller.  You get used to how high to lift your knee, and when steps are like these, you lose your cadence.  Thus the stumbling. 

Another thing–what does it say about me when I don’t even have to count the lights above the Costco sign because I’ve already counted them before?  Why would anyone count them in the first place?  I need a life…

I had vile thoughts about yellowjackets and I questioned their parentage as they dashed and darted around me.  The only good thing about them is that they eat spiders.  So do I look like I have eight legs??  Dummies–go get the spiders.  Or maybe I smell like eau de chicken, and they find me irresistable.  I did chow down on chicken before I left…yes, I washed my face…

Any road, I am now home and have gone through my first bottle of Cascade Ice, with my intentions set toward the next one.  Throughout this blog blather I’ve been trying out my mental powers on the laundry sitting beside me.  It has not jumped into the washing machine, so I guess I should give it up and go do some clothes washing. 

Still, the road beckons…

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