And I had to walk uphill both ways.

Reupping this from two years ago, almost to the daybecause it’s all true all over again!!1!

/passes out

sunI don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s been hot.

Hot in the Middle West, hot in the South, hot in the East, hot for the Hottentots, no doubt. I think even the Pacific Northwest — where in 2011, they apparently had 78 minutes of summer by mid-July (according to actual scientists) — is getting it in the neck this week.

Once upon a time, I lived in a city where this kind of hot was de rigueur at this time of year. Every year. Every day. From June 30 to September 10, give or take (with an inevitable resurgence just in time for Yom Kippur, when those who fast may not have so much as a sip of water) — heat just like this.

It doesn’t cool down on summer evenings in Tel Aviv, and the humidity could fairly easily be cut with a knife. You could make little tofu-like cubes of the humidity, and stir-fry them on the sidewalk, at midnight, is what I’m saying.

And back when I lived there, in the 80s and 90s, nobody but the rich had air-conditioning.

I was not, as you may have surmised by now, counted among the rich.

Here, though, in the gentle exile of American suburbia, I have air-conditioning up the wazoo! And if I keep certain windows shaded morning to night, it doesn’t even have to work all that hard to counteract the blast furnace with which we and the Hottentots must now grapple.

All of which means that I do not have to do any of the following semi-crazy things that I used to do, just to cool down, in Tel Aviv:

  1. Take upwards of three showers a day; allow my hair to drip down my back for as long as possible. Then wet my hair again.
  2. Sleep upside down, so that the fan could be right at my face.
  3. Dampen a sheet, and wrap myself in it at bedtime.
  4. Go to Jerusalem.
  5. Stick my head in the freezer.

Of these five activities, clearly #4 represented the nadir of my misery. Because, dude: Jerusalem is awful.

But for two glorious months of the year, when the sun had set and the breeze had returned, leaving Tel Aviv for the chaotic, dirty capital actually made sense.

One time, I remember, I even had to put on a sweater.

PS Just for the record: I really did used to stick my head in the freezer. You know: Now and then. If I happened to be passing. But I’m kind of short, so it would only last for a few seconds.



  1. dave in texas

     /  July 19, 2013

    Here in Austin, it’s kinda-sorta unseasonably cool, which means highs in the mid-to-upper nineties instead of the 105 we’ve averaged over the last few summers. I believe it was General Sherman who said that if he owned both Texas and hell, he’d rent out Texas and live in hell.

    Also, too, wear a hat. It keeps the sun off your head and makes your head sweat. Then when you take it off, you get that nice wethead cooling effect.

  2. kevin ware

     /  July 20, 2013

    Reblogged this on Kevin ware blog.

  3. Neocortex

     /  July 20, 2013

    Really, Tel Aviv is humid most of the time? When I was on Birthright this time last year it was hotter than hell – it hit 110 degrees before any heat index add-ons 3 days out of the 10 – but I don’t remember it being humid anywhere we went in Israel, and we were in the Tel Aviv area for three days. Just really, really hot (in Sefad they asked women to wear long pants, and that was one of our 110-degree days, and my long pants were black, and I was ready to punch someone).

    The more you know. If I go back I’ll remember. 🙂

    By the way, I hate to pick on this, but isn’t “Hottentot” considered a slur/offensive these days?