BEAT THE HEAT

It's hot outside. That's right, I said it. Not in a I'm-trying-to-make-small-talk-in-the-elevator kind of way. But as a declaration. It's summertime and it's hot.

This epiphany set in as my husband and I returned to Texas for the July 4th weekend. We had enjoyed a relatively mild summer in Kansas City, but when we arrived in Texas, we were greeted by a searing heat and choking humidity that said, “Welcome home, y'all.” The charm soon wore off as we found ourselves outside for holiday festivities. I tried to blend, meekly pointing out that my skin was melting off. My observations were usually met with a “Yep, it's starting to warm up — it'll be down right hot before long” or “This is one of the first warm days we've had.” Warm? Had my family all gone insane? That's when it hit me: It's not them, it's me. I've turned soft! Worse yet, I've become one of “those people.” The ones who walk around in the summertime and complain about the heat. The people I myself used to sneer at when I lived in Texas and worked outside in the heat.

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The instant after I came to that realization, I began to devise a way to hide it. I couldn't disappoint my family by admitting to them that I had lost another little piece of what makes me a Texan — the ability to unflinchingly withstand oven-like temperatures while maintaining enough strength and the presence of mind to scoff at others who mention the heat. I mean, I'm an embarrassment enough to them because I now, I've been told, “talk like a Yankee.” So I kept a smile on my face and tried to be discreet as I pointed all of the air-conditioner vents toward me each time we hopped in the car to go somewhere.

I wondered how I ever spent countless hours in that heat when I lived there. But I guess it's all a matter of what you get used to. The truth is, you do become accustomed to the heat when you're out in it all of the time. But it can be a dangerous thing to feel too immune, because no matter how tolerant you are, you still are at risk of overheating. So take the necessary precautions to prevent that from happening. Drink lots of water. Take breaks when you need them. Wear sunscreen (preferably something with some DEET to fend off those pesky mosquitoes). Wear clothes that are mainly cotton. And, by all means, don't ever be afraid to admit it if you're getting too hot.

It's summertime and it's hot. And I, for one, am not ashamed to say it. Well, maybe just a little…

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