• Richard Scrimger

old fashioned heat relief


Weird night last night. I can not recall being so hot. I woke up at two and four, and couldn't think what was wrong. I actually thought I was having an attack of some kind. Then I struggled through various layers of sleep, possibly mixed with red wine, and realized that my flat was hot enough to bake bread. I don't mind the heat usually, never use air conditioning (Never? Well, hardly ever) even when it is an option. It was not an option last night. And the heat was, well, egregious. I soaked a wash cloth, put it on my face, but it offered only momentary relief. I wondered what to do.

And then the wisdom of my Macedonian grandfather came back to me. A gruff old guy, usually unshaven and with a hand-rolled cigarette hanging out of his mouth. When you're hot, drink something hot, he used to say. Look at the Arabs. They live in the hottest climate in the world, and what do they drink? Coffee and tea. Yes, Dedo, but the Arabs didn't have electricity, I would say. I was nine or ten. So what, he said. If they had electricity, maybe they'd use air conditioning. And maybe they wouldn't. I tell you they didn't need air conditioning. They drank hot drinks. And wore loose clothing. Long loose clothing, all over. Not like North Americans with their bikinis. Which generally got him started on girls today and their lack of modesty. I had not thought of my dedo in years, but his voice came back to me last night in my feverish state. I wondered if he had had a point after all. I decided to try out his ideas. Not the long flowing robes, but the hot drink. I boiled water and made a pot of tea. Guess what? Going down, the tea felt as hot as hell's door knob. And when it go to my stomach it felt even hotter. And then ... gradually ... over the next minute or two ... I began to experience a feeling of comparative coolness. I repeated the procedure. I felt ... better. Not cool, mind you. Far from cool. But less hot. I drank two cups and went to bed, but was only able to sleep for an an hour or so before my bladder woke me up. Drinking hot tea will in fact relieve heat prostration, but you still end up with all that tea sloshing around inside you. If my dedo were still alive I might ask him how the Arabs dealt with that.

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Richard Scrimger | scrimgerr@gmail.com | Toronto, ON, Canada