This week, we celebrated the Summer Solstice. June 21st is simultaneously the longest day of the year, Mama Bear’s birthday, and the first official day of summer. Honestly, I’m not sure who Mother Nature thinks she’s kidding… This is Florida and we’ve been living hotter than most people’s summers for at least a month and a half now. I just checked the Weather Channel’s website to find that although it’s only technically 93°F outside, because of the fifty-gazillion percent humidity, it actually feels like 103°F. Try that on for size, Minnesota… Wisconsin… and anywhere else where people know what a parka is!
I read a great book once about a man who moved into a minimalist community and had to forego air conditioning as a consequence. Although he was sweating something awful at the beginning, eventually his body acclimated to the heat and he was much more comfortable (but probably not any less funky). Then when he and his wife decided to move back into the industrialized world, the few days that they spent in air conditioned hotels and cars while they house hunted freaked their bodies out. The shelter from the climate tilted their heat sensitivity equilibrium and they were back to square one upon returning to finish out the remaining months of their minimalist experiment.
Housemate and I have very different ideas about what constitutes “too hot.” She has said on more than one occasion that her favorite kind of weather is “warm and balmy.” To me that translates to sweaty and funky, too hot to sleep, and “I’ll have to take another shower because I now feel gross.” In spite of the fact that I totally agree with her on the “let’s-not-have-another-$400-electric-bill-this-summer-like-we-did-this-winter-when-it-froze-in-Florida-and-we-thought-that-we-were-going-to-die” front, we’re still constantly coming behind the other one and readjusting the thermostat. Generally, in those instances, she wins. Because of that, I expected that I might already be somewhat acclimatized to the harsh realities that accompany summertime in a humid subtropical climate zone.
“Not so,” I found out yesterday upon arriving at the studio. The drive to get there was so short that I’m not sure that the air conditioner in my car had begun to actually cool yet. I didn’t think much of it because I’m used to the brutal blast of hot air when I open the door of a car that has been heating in the sun all day. But then when I got inside, our producer Dave looked at me funny and said, “Have you been in the sun? Your face is all red.” I hadn’t been in the sun and wondered if I was actually flushed and finding out right at that moment that I love recording new music more than I thought that I did. But alas, when I went to the bathroom probably half an hour later, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, still beet red, and only then did I realize that I had been really hot in my car driving over and was still kind of uncomfortable.
[Side note: One day, I tried to talk Charlie and Claire into letting me attempt to bake cookies on the dashboard of our van because although I’ve never measured the temperature, it must be as hot as an oven during the day. Very quickly, probably before the idea was fully out of my mouth, they had reached a unanimous decision and I was completely denied. Seriously!?!? Some people just do not recognize genius when it’s right there in front of them.]
Wow, right? Either Florida is a killer right now, or in spite of the fact that I have lived in this area all my life and should have by now evolved (“go-go Gadget Vornado”) or at least adapted somewhat to my environment, I might just be an epic wimp. Although I have my suspicions about which assumption holds more truth, I choose to assert the former.
Two weekends ago, when we were playing on the Florida Atlantic coast, we spent a day at the mall in the Jacksonville. As we were leaving, we passed several men beating the heat by swimming in a retention pond next to the on-ramp for the freeway. It took a few seconds, but we realized that they were not cleverly skirting Mother Nature’s brutal convection-style revenge on human kind for pumping her oceans full of oil, but rather, they were trying to save someone whose car had flown off of the on-ramp and become submerged in said retention pond. Later we saw on the news that the driver had been saved, but in the hours leading up to a happy ending, we had much discussion about drowning in your car.
That has always been one of my fears. In fact, when I ordered my last car, I specified that instead of the standard power windows, I wanted manual roll-down windows. This way, in the event that I drive off a bridge, and water gets into my electronics, I won’t be stuck in my car to drown. I’ll be able to calmly roll the windows down and then safely swim through the opening to the surface. I have learned though that as helpful as those manual windows might be in a car submersion emergency, they are not ideal for when you get a call in the middle of the night to be “drunk-taxi” for one of your friends. Trust me, when they’re drunk and puking, you’d totally rather have electric windows— really fancy, really fast electric windows. But, in the big scheme of things, I’d much rather clean up someone else’s vomit (more than once… you’d think that I would have learned by now!) than drown in my own car because the electronics are revolting against me.
As much as I think through it with my voice of practicality, car-drowning remains a terrifying “what-if” in the back of my head. As a Sarah Mac Band fan, you would have known about this earlier had I been clever enough to fit it into “I’m Not Scared.” But it just doesn’t flow well off of the tongue.
Today after contemplating my blog subject, I started to scare myself not with the idea of drowning in my car, but with that of cooking alive in my car! I found some interesting internet statistics stating that even in an outside temperature of as little as 70° F, the inside of a car can rise up to 43° in just sixty minutes. It’s probably way worse in Florida because the air is already like a sauna from our daily mid-afternoon thunderstorms… and as all of that steam rises in your car with nowhere to go, it cooks you outside in while your body (since we all learned in 7th grade Life Science that we are 78% water) steams itself from the inside out! Not kidding, guys! Housemate and I rarely miss a rerun of CSI, so we know all about this kind of stuff. I’ll bet that things like this happen everyday in Tallahassee, but they keep it hidden from the general population because they don’t want to scare everyone into hiding in their air conditioned homes until November!
If you’re a brave one and willing to try the outdoors during the summer months, you’ll see the Sarah Mac Band. As much as we’re leery of accidentally baking ourselves in our van this summer (I still think that baking cookies is a better idea), we’re committed to our craft and providing you with high quality entertainment. We’ve been doing some stuff in the studio the last few weeks and breaking from live performances for a little while, but once July hits, it’s back to the stage full speed ahead. You’ll see us in Tampa and Sopchoppy over the 4th of July weekend, and then at the Swamp Stomp in Tallahassee and a concert in Kleman Plaza later in the month. When discussing these shows, we realized that they they will inevitably be oppressively hot. As I started to ponder how we might make it more comfortable, I stumbled upon the perfect solution: Seersucker Suits!
Seersucker was invented my the Persians thousands of years ago to deal with the desert heat and then traded with westerners that wandered into the region. Eventually it was brought back and integrated into American society. Over the years, it has become pretty chic, folks. They were wearing it back in The Great Gatsby and now they sell it in J. Crew! The weave of the fabric keeps it away from the skin and somehow cools you down. It’s a win-win situation. Not only will we be hip and stylish, but we’ll also be cool–literally!
I thought that it would be fun to have matching outfits like the Von Trapps did in The Sound of Music after Maria decided that the children needed “play clothes” and ripped down the drapes to use for fabric. Keep your fingers crossed, I’m hoping that this idea will go over better with Charlie and Claire than the van cookie baking idea.
P.S. Just as I finished writing this, my cousin in Tucson sent me a text message saying that the sun is setting in her town and it’s ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN DEGREES! I guess that she wins in the state heat contest. I’ll bet that Muddy Waters didn’t write a song about Arizona, though!