Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Crackling

Yesterday the temperature here in the upper desert was easily 107 degrees;  It depended what part of town one was in.  It was 111 in one part, and only 97 in another.    The sidewalks were empty,  no one was walking a dog or heading to the local market.  It was stinking hot.

Courtesy of
I went to pick up my granddaughters from school.  Normally parents are mingling and talking about stuff.  The younger mothers are in their yoga outfits, with those cool shoes that are rounded on the sole.  They weren’t yesterday; they were almost naked, and they didn’t care one darn bit. 

Normally their little toddlers are toddling around, being so cute with drool and bits of crackers on their faces.  They weren’t yesterday.  No, the toddlers were crashed in their strollers, red-faced and miserable.  At least they had a bottle with something to drink.   

I wanted to steal the bottle, but the mother was watching me closely.
The playground

There was a silence that crackled; when it is that hot outside, I swear everything and everyone crackled.  The sidewalk was a pancake griddle; when I walked across it to get to the lunch area shade, the heat that rose from the griddle burned the hair off my legs.  I needed to shave them anyway.  The trees crackled, or perhaps it was the leaves that were crackling out their last bit of moisture. 

Other parents picking up students from school
We other miscellaneous adults were huddling under the lunch area shade.  No one spoke; we didn’t want to give up any last bit of spit to the dry air.  We all sat the same way:  arms akimbo, hands on knees, legs sprawled, head hung down.  It was the sight of misery, and none of cared one bit that we all looked like we had been dragged through sand, rolled in a tortilla, and toasted over a hot fire. 

My face must have given the image of one who was about to pass out.  I felt that way.  My cheeks were a shade of red that defies any color description, and the rest of my face was white, pasty white like Elmo’s glue white. 

Even the school children left their air-conditioned classroom like normal kids, but they crackled the moment they hit the outside air.  My granddaughters were silent as we walked to the car. 

‘Please, God.  Help me get to the car!’ I prayed. ‘I don’t want to pass out on the sidewalk.  They would send for an ambulance, and…wait, let me pass out on the sidewalk after all…” 
The vulture by my car

We made it to the car, just barely.  As the girls fastened the seat belts, I got the A/C cranked up to the last number, 4.  Why there isn’t a 5, 6, or 7, I don’t know. 
This parent didn't make it to the car.

I had forgotten I had left my iced coffee in the car.  The ice was melted, but the diluted coffee was cool.  I let the girls drink it all, Lord love them.  It wouldn’t sound good to hear in the news that a grandmother let her granddaughters pass out from dehydration, while she sipped on iced coffee.


  1. Sounds absolutely miserable..

  2. Great images to go along with your story!

  3. Great post. I enjoyed it immensely.

    Most of the country can relate as it has been a bear of a summer. The only time I was cool was when I went to California. Apparently, you are south of San Francisco.

  4. You wrote this so well, I seriously started feeling hot LOL! Your writing is amazing.

  5. Its been hot here too w/ heat indexes well over 100. Stay cool my friend.


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