|Speaking of summer days spent here in the District, when the wind blows it
doesn't actually... blow. Wind is absorbed by the muggy absolutes of a
Capitol city built on a swampy marsh. Wind blowing is or those "summer
breezes" are, we assume, cool, environmentally random melodic breaks
temporarily freezing the sweat on the brow. When engaged in customary
competitive acts of brutal physical confrontation on heat darkened, rock
crispy asphalt courts, you once could count on finding the nearest pocket of
Polar-induced oxygen hidden between gouging slurps of Gatorade and pampering
face wipes from the forearm. Obviously - these days - relief from the heat
is the foregone conclusion of shifting body weight from the Sun's rays.
Instead, one must step further away in a desperate Argonautonian quest for
Fans don't work - why they are even made, packaged, marketed, distributed and
sold is an enduring question contributing to the complex meaning of humanity.
Fans merely fan and spread what they are built to eliminate, doing nothing
more than blowing heated air, thereby creating more heat, which in turn
instigates stifling indoor air burns. Bump the fans, kid. The worst move is
a fan in a stuffy ghetto bedroom - or, as in my case, growing up with
old-headed, Virginia-bred traditionalists who didn't believe in the wonders
of modern air conditioning and worshipped fans like eight tracks.
Indisputable fact: it's hot. A fireball bursting into flame kind of hot that
few thought could boil the bloodstreams of countless millions unless they
were stranded in some nameless Nevada desert. Our self-described pious
polemics on Pennsylvania Avenue have spun it as "climate change," as means to
a cooler-headed end. When blasted home and abroad for unapologetic
opposition to international "global warming" treaties and sky-is-exploding
predictions of a coming Microwave Age, White House officials now rally to
calm fears that actively find ways to alleviate unbearable throat-choking
heat. "Climate change" carefully strokes the collective American sweat,
dismissing stank hot afternoons as a result of somewhat normal fluctuations
in Fahrenheit. But, when you were growing up, do you recall anything like a
"code red" warning? Entire days when city residents could bum free rides on
mass transit? Who would've thunk it? A world of "Code Red," Ozone Depletion
Advisories, hazy early mornings with a heat index and... bottled water? It's
not so much the matter of a Kyoto Accord filled with risky economic scenarios
breaking the American financial back - it's really a matter of a global
effort at least taking place or the collective acknowledgement of the problem
after years of denial, god-playing and neglect.
Something's not cool. And Mother Nature's ire is in full view of a Weather
Channel exclusive: recent storms have been frequent, fierce and furious.
Recollections of calmer skies and cooler breezes pass further into memory
with every flood, tornado, brush fire and hurricane ripping across the globe
in a Biblical tempest.
I miss those innocently bright commercial-like mid-summer days amid cool,
breezy patches of grass flowing in designated fashion past perfectly
separated row homes laid in middle class grasp. There were always the
overtones of happiness. Little girls making simple games of double-dutch and
hopscotch on cracked sidewalks while little boys favored scratching knees and
busting bones in strenuous exercises of street football. I grew up in an era
that did not truly... exist, since it seemed more like transition - between
Reagan's first term and - damn...yeah - another term of Reagan.
Neither amity nor animosity persisted, until street became a culture just a
pin drop in limbo somewhere before we stopped in Dante's Inferno. It was a
page turning after my elder's chapter that noted another time; another way of
thinking, another life; another totally different paradigm where, at least,
"Code Red" meant a fire alarm went off...
So they say. Another time - in the most sentimental spruce - and another
peace. When you could open the doors unlocked, wait for the breeze to pop in
and sleep undisturbed without fear of humidity grown monster mosquitoes
hitching rides on freighters across the Seven Seas.
C.D. Ellison is Contributing Writer to Metro Connection. He can be reached