Tuesday, July 02, 2013

In praise of summer crankiness. And not just my own.

July 4th is coming. Or maybe by the time you're reading this, it’ll have been here and gone. Whatever.

Here in the New York area, they’re calling for temperatures in the high 80s, on the Fourth, with high humidity. Your typical July day.

It’s the kind of weather where you get extremely irritated if somebody asks you to do something you don’t want to do. Or just brushes against you in the street. It’s the kind of day where you don’t want to breathe without air conditioning. It’s the kind of day where your whole body wants to tell people, “Hey, wait just a damn second! I don’t want to stand over a hot gas barbecue pit. Go burn your own damn frankfurters.”

Added to the oppressive seasonal heat and humidity, the last 30 days or so have been unbearably rainy. Roads are flooding too easily because the land doesn't have a chance absorb one downpour before the next one comes along. Cellars are leaking. Worms are drowning. Mildew is growing.  Every pair of pants I’ve taken off the hanger in the past couple of weeks has gone to the dry cleaners the next day. They’re not dirty. They’re just limp, and wrinkled from the rain.

To remind me about wet weather, New York Mayor Bloomberg’s little worker bees have sent me a brochure with an unintelligible map. Or at least it’s unintelligible to red-green-brown colorblind people like me. In reds and greens and browns, in just itty-bitty millimeters of space, it shows me what I think is my neighborhood on a map of Manhattan and tells me that if they declare a hurricane alert, I’ll have to get out. There are six levels of alert, each coded with a different green or brown, and when they call the color I can’t see, I’m supposed to pack a bag and move in with grumpy relatives, or go live in a shelter.

In a pig’s eye! They had to mail the brochure to me anyway. So they have my address. Why didn’t they just say, “When we declare your address is a Stage 6,” you gotta go.”

Because they’re the same kind of idiots who developed color-coded threat alerts (remember those?) for the Department of Homeland Security. Look, when those idiots became useless to Washington they had to go somewhere. So they went to City Hall in New york.

Besides, I live on the 10th floor. I admit it was miserable last year when a hurricane knocked out the power, causing my  building to lose water, lights, refrigeration, the elevators, and TV for a five days. But I was 80 feet above ground level, which in my neighborhood is another 10 feet above water level, so why doesn't Bloomberg cut the crap and figure out how to get homes for the homeless, who are the people truly in danger of drowning in the streets?
Meanwhile, I feel like I have jungle rot. I fully expect to take off my socks and find a crop of toadstools growing between my toes. My shoes are cracking. Damn it all, I’m cracking.

So I’m not surprised that the 13 Colonies declared their independence from England on July 4th. Thomas Jefferson’s observations of the weather on July 4th 1776 only put temperatures in the high 70s, but hell, that was Philadelphia. Seventy degrees in Philly is like three weeks in a New York heatwave. Or nine weeks in hell. And Jefferson didn’t note down the humidity. And furthermore, the founding fathers weren’t exactly walking around in Bermua shorts and T-shirts.

Besides, even minus global warming, July on the East Coast of the United States has always stuck people with the kind of weather that gets tempers flaring and rage exploding. “Write another pleading letter to King George to end the stamp tax? Screw that, Martha. I’ll show that fat-assed king! Where’s my blunderbuss? ”

When you get right down to it, the American Revolution was road rage without the roads or the automobiles. People were getting hot and sticky and pissed off and England ignored us. Poof! There went the colonies.

If we had air conditioning back in 1776, we’d all probably still be British. 

You owe your freedom –whatever’s left of it after the Internet sends your phone and electronic mailing records to the Defense Intelligence Agency – anyway, you owe your freedom to crankiness. And that’s all I have to say, mainly because I don’t feel like writing any more. You want to make something of it? 


Anonymous said...

God-dammmnnnn, you are so right. But, what about August in NY? Huh, huh?

Patricia said...

Seventy degrees in Philly is like three weeks in a New York heatwave. Crank, I am from Philly and putting up with that soup was enough to get me out of that sewer. You're observation about our revolution and crankiness are on point. Here's hoping for more crankiness, we need another revolution. Have a cranky 4th!