Beating the heat

Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.
~Sydney Smith

Oh, you poor thing. It’s in the 90s over there in Atlanta.

I’d feel sorry for them, but it’s been hitting the triple digits here in Texas on an all too regular basis. You know why many people here don’t believe in global warming? Because some people like to use our triple digit heat waves as “proof” (for example, Al Gore). That’s not global warming, folks, that’s Texas. It’s hot here.

So here are a few tips from a native Texan on beating the heat.

Acclimate, acclimate, acclimate. I cannot stress this enough. Wait until it’s too hot to sleep to turn on the AC, and then only at night. It has to start hitting the upper eighties in my apartment during the day for me to kick on the AC. At night I keep it in the upper seventies. Luckily, I have a job with minimal air conditioning. I can go for weeks without being in a building with “proper” AC. And when I do enter that building, I freeze my ass off. Seventy-five degrees is cold. Acclimation is your number one defense against the heat.

Drink water. Even when I was drinking soda, I’d up my water consumption significantly in the summer. Fuck what those beer commercials say, when you’re really, truly thirsty, you only crave water. Drink that shit. Often.

Shade. In east Texas, the humidity prevents shade from feeling much cooler than full sun, but it at least keeps you from sunburning. It also keeps your car from turning into an oven. Screw parking at the front of the lot…a lot of people here fight over the shaded parking spots instead. Hats are helpful, although you’ll hardly see anyone carrying around an umbrella since most people opt for either sunscreen or clothing that covers easily burned skin.

Cool showers. I take showers more often in the summer. I get hot, sticky, and gross, and slightly cool showers help immensely. If I feel too hot in the apartment, I take a shower.

Close up your space. A lot of people will tell you to open your windows at night to let the cool air in. That only works in some areas. Where I live, it may get a little cooler at night, but not enough to make a difference indoors. I keep the apartment closed up during the summer. Opening up your space at night is probably more beneficial in drier climates.

Take advantage of the early morning hours. It’s cooler in the morning, so try to get outdoor stuff done then, or wait until after dark.

But overall, acclimation is your best bet, if you want to keep from looking like an idiot fanning yourself with a piece of paper in a minimally air conditioned building. In my never-very-humble opinion, if you don’t like the heat, get the hell out of Texas.

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3 Responses to “Beating the heat”

  1. Dargon Says:

    I spend at least a few hours each day working outside in the 100+ degree heat. Likewise, I cannot stress enough how useful acclimation is. My AC is set at 85 degrees (and I do not turn it down at night). My drives in the 100+ degree heat in a black car are sans-AC (I will say a beaded seat cover ups the air-flow to the back and helps immensely)

    Likewise, I must stress if you do acclimate, carry a light jacket with you. Stores keep their AC in the lower 70s, upper 60s at times, and when 85 has become comfortable, that’s really cold.

    I may get a bit laughed at since Texas winters are relatively mild, but acclimating down does well to keep the heating bill down as well.

  2. Ha, I’m from Chicago and I don’t get A/C period, even when it hits high 90s and humid :P Take that Texas!

    In all seriousness though, what you said is spot on. Like Dragon, it also works for lower temperatures too during winter (or what we call winter up north).

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