Monday, July 2, 2018

Heat of the Moment

Let's talk hot, shall we?

Mac and I dutifully trudged to the river to walk even though we knew we couldn't cool off in the water because neither of us knew if e. coli was still an issue after all the media attention the high levels got a few weeks back.

Ordinarily, we'd get as far as the pipeline and either climb rocks to find a spot to put our legs in the water or dismount the walkway at one of the little beaches and wade out to cool off. Today we had to make do with the new Native American monument in Capital Square which conveniently has a water feature burbling out of its center. I couldn't resist sitting down on the water-covered surface while the more circumspect Mac just leaned in to wet her hands, meaning I had to finish the last mile with my shorts soaked in the back.

If I looked like I'd wet my pants I was okay with that because wet shorts are cooler than dry shorts. No shame here.

Driving down Broad Street this afternoon to run errands, I saw one digital clock that read 102 degrees and another that read 108. Even splitting the difference, that's still 105 degrees. Meanwhile, back in my apartment, the temperature has been stuck at 94 for the past ten hours, although that doesn't take into account the humidity which makes it feel far hotter than a mere 94.

Even so, I'm not complaining about the heat. Granted, it's the hottest day of the year so far but I'm the one who chooses to live without air conditioning (proudly, in fact) and let's not forget that summer is supposed to be hot, humid and sweaty weather. Sorry, kids, but it's just not natural to be comfortably cool in July in Richmond.

Hello, that's why seersucker, sundresses and the south were invented.

But I'm also not too proud to admit that I didn't hesitate to spend two hours at the movies to escape the heat this evening, just like people have been doing since the 1920s when theaters began advertising their air conditioned interiors.

Tonight was the kickoff of the Byrd Theatre's month-long tribute to Wes Anderson with his debut feature, "Bottle Rocket." Given how well attended it was, I have to assume there are a lot of Anderson fans stuck in town for the July fourth holiday since I'm quite sure I was the lone attendee to have central a/c at home and choose not to use it.

For anyone who cares about the full story, I turned my back on air conditioning in 1993 for myriad reasons - the environment, the cost, the unnaturalness of it - and never looked back. That decision dictates that I sleep under a ceiling fan with two other fans pointed directly at me and occasionally forces me into a heat nap, but that's a small price to pay.

Part heist movie, part buddy film and visually a precursor to the celebrated Wes Anderson "look" he developed with his films, "Bottle Rocket" not only provided a respite from the heat but a slew of laugh out loud dialog ("Wow, you're really complicated." "I try not to be.") and - wait for it - multiple scenes shot inside and outside Frank Lloyd Wright's John Gillin residence in Dallas, the last Usonian house built before he died and the largest.

So, you see, I wasn't just catching a break from the heat, I was upping my architectural literacy. Like I do.

And now I'm back in J-Ward, all the street lights are out for some reason and it's still 94 degrees in my apartment. I call that another glorious summer night in the city.

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