By Joe Darby
Man. This heat! I don’t know where to begin.
You turn on your cold water faucet and the water comes out hot. Not warm, but hot. Who wants to brush their teeth in hot water.
You go outside in the afternoon and it’s like stepping into a sauna. I know people use that cliché a lot, but this time it’s really true. Just terribly uncomfortable outdoors.
Your car’s been sitting in the sun. You open the car door and the hot air comes blasting out. It feels like you’re standing in front of a furnace. You should hold the door open and wait a few seconds before getting in.
Then once you’re in the car you can hardly touch the steering wheel or gearshift knob without getting a second-degree burn. For the first block or so, you have to steer with your fingertips, just lightly touching the wheel.
At home, you open the back door fairly late at night to let the dog out and it’s still stifling out there. We were coming back from eating out last weekend, at 9 p.m. The time and temperature sign at the hospital said 92 degrees. At 9 p.m.! And that was pretty accurate because my car’s thermometer measured the outdoor heat at 93 at that time.
You don’t even think about cutting the grass until the sun is well down on the horizon and you’ll be somewhat protected by shadows from the houses and the trees.
The Shreveport TV weathermen are broadcasting that we’re in a Weather Red Alert because of the heat. That means that staying out in the sun or being in an un-airconditioned place is a hazard to your health.
The weathermen also tell us that in Natchitoches last weekend, the “feel-like” temperature, or heat index, was 107. And that’s in the shade. Add a bunch of degrees for standing in the sun.
I know that recent summers in this area have been terribly hot and that a year or two ago we had like 20 straight days of 100 plus degree temperatures. But this current heat wave seems, to me, just about the most uncomfortable heat I’ve ever experienced.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting old and my old frame just can’t take the heat like it used to. If I was a car, I’d say maybe my radiator is not working well, or my thermostat is on the blink. Something’s out of whack.
I’ve been in a hotter clime, but still never felt this uncomfortable. Years ago I accompanied an Air Force Reserve fighter squadron from New Orleans to Nellis Air Force Base, just outside of Las Vegas. The unit was there for combat competition against other similar Air Force squadrons.
My photographer and I were put up at a hotel in Vegas, on the strip. It was our first time there, so in addition to spending time out at the base to get our story, in our spare moments we walked up and down the strip, gawking like the tourists that we were. It wasn’t long before we noticed the heat. I believe the temp was something like 112 degrees. It was a dry heat, with very little or no humidity. But it was till darned hot.
However, as I’ve said, the desert heat was not as oppressive as this current heat wave we’re having now. So I’m staying inside as much as I can, thanking heavens that my air conditioner is working just fine. (Gosh, I hope I don’t jinx it by writing this!)
By the time you read this, it may have rained and reduced the temps somewhat. But in the meantime, all I can say is, be cool, my friends.
By Joe Darby