Tonawanda News

Columns

July 19, 2013

ADAMCZYK: 80 degrees at 3 in the morning

Tonawanda News — The nature of vacations, whether weekend getaways or expeditions involving aircraft and porters bearing trains of luggage, involves attending things familiar yet thus far unvisited, which is why I was in a Shopper’s Drug Mart in Ontario the other day. The store offers sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) in the low 100s, and that’s an outdoor record for me.

Who needs a transdermal unguent of such protective ferocity? Yeah, we do, the citizens of Ontario and Western New York, places where snow and sleet are perceived as factors in the daily grind. Forget whether global warming will flood Manhattan in our lifetimes, and consider the 90-plus-in-the-shade lifestyle to which we, here, must accommodate ourselves.

We can blame global warming (I always do, and the Republicans), but the tediously hot days we’ve recently endured remind me of Wile E. Coyote and those other Warner Brothers cartoon characters who pull signs, on sticks, from behind their backs at opportune moments: “Monotonous, isn’t it?”

As I was speaking by telephone to a person in Tucson, Ariz., recently, he explained the perpetual heat there is mitigated, survivable actually, by hurrying from one air-conditioned building to another. So now we’re living the way they do in Arizona.

A Toronto radio station advised, the other day, to look in on frying children and elderly, and to be aware shopping malls are maintaining late hours to encourage the overheated to come in and simply bask in the chill. Thus does a commercial property recommend you visit another commercial property to satisfy your needs without actually buying anything.

I literally have some skin in this game. I am large and overweight, and if I lost 100 pounds I’d still be large. That alone could get me shot in Florida, but it means a walk through downtown Kenmore these days involves slow motion and a cool drink in my hand. We put our gloves on when it’s cold; when it’s hot, a bottle of hydration is as crucial as shoes or car keys.

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