Sweating the Details of Summer

The Low Country Boil that is Charleston’s summer atmosphere both in climate and cuisine is in full stretch as July takes his revenge on February’s chilly reception. Not that you’d eat shellfish in July, mind you, except it be of the flash-frozen variety, but you wouldn’t schedule any activities short of elbow-bending and possibly, quiet conversation. But why waste precious cooling elements of iced tea and immobility by risking a flash of inspiration or blood pressure? Best to languish.

A quick glance upward after summer showers in the late afternoon, and one notes that the sky has designs on humankind. She sees you there, lounging about, motionless and stubborn as a cornered possum. And about as mean. Next thing you know, the lowering clouds descend ever closer, threatening to suffocate you and make a good case for euthanasia for those no longer useful to society. Best be done with you, you sweaty waste of her generous and sultry heat.

Taking a hint, you move quickly indoors and settle in with book or budget or bourbon. If you’re lucky the AC is set to accommodate penguins and polar bears at the zoo. If you’re poor and artistic, you have the hypnotic and lovely drone of an oscillating fan to stir the bourbon in your brain and conjure up thoughts of not moving a finger; of becoming one with the thick, humid air mass that woos you with every inert intention of idleness.

The slightest sound is too much to consider or tolerate, so you leave your clammy hams stuck to the recliner lest the ripping noise of vulcanized flesh pulling away to rearrange itself might wake the dog. That would mean another walk.

Quietly the perspiration makes its cameo before you can mop it away and it rolls down hills and valleys and you look like some bad sports commercial closeup. Another shower will fix that. Then you can look like an industrial soap commercial.

But it doesn’t matter. Not even the mirror has the energy to mock you in this heat.  The pitiless heat is just as tough on the reflective particles as it is on the living molecules. Dim the lights, cue the fans, and wait for . . . oh Hell.  August.