It's always asked when it is way too hot. No one ever asks you that question when it's sixty eight degrees outside, or when there's frost on the ground.
My English to Texas translator tells me this saying is not a question, but a statement, to wit: "It's too hot, isn't it!"
The question seeks not an answer so much as a hearty agreement. "It was a hundred and three this afternoon."
I don't know if it has gotten hotter since I was a kid growing up in East Texas, or if living without air conditioning as a child made me less aware of the heat. I have certainly grown accustomed to air conditioning the past forty five years, since leaving home at age eighteen. I suppose it is fair to say that having a running air conditioner in my home and car tops my list of "got to have it" possessions. I can do without a lot of things, but air conditioning is not one of them.
When I was in the military, we worked with heat sensitive electronics which had to stay air conditioned properly to run properly. As others sweltered on their jobs, we always had air conditioning - not for us - but for the equipment. I made my mind up right then to find work when I got of the military which involved being in air conditioning.
I have told people that I became a lawyer because I wanted to work inside where there was air conditioning. They always think I'm kidding, but I'm kind of not kidding.
It's not just the heat thing. I can't breathe good in hot, humid air. Like my Dad before me, I have a tendency to get a stuffy head. My nasal passages and Eustachian tubes are often up to no good. First the nose tickling. Then the sneezing. Then the ears not quite working right. Then the Eustachian tubes sticking. Enter cold, dry air conditioned air and my breathing straightens right out. I can breathe again. When I can breathe, I can sleep.
Cold air is essential to my getting good sleep. If it is too hot, I might as well get up, because my nose will be honking and my head will be stuffy in short order. To say I hate sleeping in hot, humid conditions is an understatement. It doesn't have to be very hot to be hot enough for me.
How hot is it? I've heard this question answered in East Texas with sayings, some of which cannot be repeated in this column. But some can. "Hot enough to grow onions!" How hot does it have to be to grow onions? "Hotter than a chicken in a wool basket!" When would one ever put a chicken in a wool basket? "Hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk!" Why would anyone want to do that, and how did they come up with that idea to begin with?
We have two to three more months of hot weather before cooler days arrive. Let's try to avoid asking others how hot it is. Let's simply agree it is too hot here for July and August, and always has been.
© 2013, Jim “Pappy” Moore,
All Rights Reserved.