21 July 2011

Guidelines for Griping about the Heat

Hot enough for you?

Now that the July is blazing away, many of us are enjoying one of America’s favorite summer pastimes: griping about the heat. But perhaps you’ve noticed that, just as you’re in the middle of a really good rant, your intended audience seems less than interested in what you have to say about how hot it is, how you can’t stand it another minute, how you wish you could dive into a vat of iced tea right now, and how many eggs you could fry on the hood of your car. Despite the endless fascination of this topic and your extreme erudition, his eyes begin to glaze over, he checks his watch, and he changes the subject abruptly.

How to explain this phenomenon? Have your descriptive powers wilted in the heat? Is your listening friend immune to the high temperatures from which you suffer so? Is it possible that he’s actually feeling hotter than you — that temperatures are higher where he’s standing, three feet away from you? Is he frustrated that, although you complain about the heat each day, you never seem to do anything about it?

No, dear reader, the real reason your friends don’t enjoy listening to your complaints is simply this: you are not qualified to gripe.

But fear not! The following handy guidelines will help you to establish all the necessary qualifications. If you pass, you’ll be ready to gripe away!

You certainly can can-can … but can you complain?

1. The current temperature outside is
85 degrees (Score 1 point)
b. 90 degrees (Score 2 points)
c. 95 degrees (Score 3 points)
d. 100 degrees (Score 5 points)
e. 105 degrees or higher (Score 15 points, but deduct 10 points if you calculated using the “Heat Index”)

2. My home is
air-conditioned (Deduct 50 points)
b. air-conditioned, but the air-conditioning is broken (Score 5 points)
c. not air-conditioned at all (Score 20 points)
d. not even equipped with an electric fan (Score 50 points)
e. equipped with a swimming pool (Deduct 5,000 points)

3. My car is
not air-conditioned (Score 50 points)
b. air-conditioned (Deduct 100 points)
c. I don’t own a car; I take public transportation to work (Score 100 points)
d. I take public transportation in New York City (Score 1,000 points)

4. My place of work is
air-conditioned (Deduct 1,000 points)
b. not air-conditioned (Score 1,000 points)
c. an open field (Stop! You’re a winner!)

5. Standard attire for employees at my place of work is
a business suit (Score 50 points)
b. the costume of a 16th-century Italian noble (Score 75 points)
c. “business casual” (Score 35 points)
d. shorts, T-shirt, and flip-flops (Score 25 points)
e. workout clothes or pajamas (Score 10 points)
f. underwear or bare-ass naked (Score 5 points and phone me if there are any positions available at your office)

6. The distance I walk from my door to the vehicle I take to work or the store is
less than the length of a New York City block (Score 5 points)
b. longer than a New York City block (Score 10 points)
c. the equivalent of several New York City blocks (Score 100 points)
d. air-conditioned (Deduct 100 points)
e. not air-conditioned (Score 50 points)
f. along a New York City garbage-collection route (Score 100 points)

7. On average, I use the New York City subway system, standing on un-air-conditioned, barely ventilated subway platforms choked with foul-smelling garbage and human excrement
never (Deduct 500 points)
b. three or four times per week (Score 100 points)
c. every day to and from work (Score 250 points)
d. more than 10 times per week (Score 500 points)

8. Please characterize yourself:
I have a medical condition that makes high temperatures dangerous to my health (Score 200 points)
b. I am Marilyn Monroe, and I am performing “Heat Wave” at this very minute (Score 500 points)
c. I am in excellent physical condition and find a brisk, clean sweat extremely refreshing — every day, if possible (Deduct 10 points)
d. Like most Americans in the so-called Heartland, I am overweight and would probably complain about the heat even when the weather was perfectly nice (Deduct 250 points)

Results: The higher you scored, the better qualified you are to gripe about the heat. If you scored less than 750 points, shut up. Now. Because we New Yorkers really don’t want to hear how hot it is down there in Texas.

Really, Texas — what did you expect? I know that the educational system has declined since I was a boy, but come on! What part of the map made you think Texas was a county in Sweden? Summer is supposed to be unbearably hot where you are! Whereas we’re in the north — and our elected representatives are much more likely than yours to recognize the reality of global warming and other science.

But above all, as New York attains Texas-style temperatures this week, I offer you fair warning:

If your score isn’t higher than ours,
do not tell us not to complain.

Thank you.


William V. Madison said...

According to New York 1, a cable news channel, there's a new answer to the perennial question, "How hot is it?" As of this afternoon it is, in fact, so hot that the clocks have stopped in the New York subway.

Anne said...

'come on! What part of the map made you think Texas was a county in Sweden? Summer is supposed to be unbearably hot where you are! '

Hmmm....is the heat making a certain very handsome, very charming birthday ballerino a leetle cranky???
xox Nonnie
Thank you for making me laugh, in my landmarked apartment where the old windows cannot keep out the heat, that heat that feels as if one had inadvertently placed oneself beside a car exhaust...

Lincoln Madison said...

We had a brief break from the heat on Thursday here in San Francisco. After several days of flirting with — and occasionally even crossing! — the 70°F (21°C) mark, we maxed out at a comparatively mild 63°F (17°C). One day last week, it was so hot that I left the apartment without a sweatshirt!!!

Amy B said...

If I had actually been doing the Marilyn Monroe Heat Wave, I would have scored the ability to gripe. But... since I'm at work in my air-conditioned cubicle, in business casual, I will shut up.

William V. Madison said...

Amy, I believe that a few readers from Texas -- frustrated to learn that they're not qualified to complain about the heat (from which they are largely insulated, 24 hours per day) -- will take comfort in your solidarity with their plight. So perhaps your score is not in vain.

Joy said...

@Linc: the next time I see you, I am going to kick your butt. You don't have to rub it in THAT much! (And yes, I've been bitching about the heat for weeks. Yesterday, it was 90 here at 9 in the morning.)