Wheaton’s Way

Baby, it's hot outside

True story: I stepped outside my house this week and instantly burst into flames. Temperature is 95 degrees; feels like: the surface of the sun.

I realise I probably sound like a pensioner when I’m talking to friends, but I can’t help it. While those in their 20s and 30s are raving about the bars reopening, I’m carrying on like sun in the Caribbean is suddenly a revelation.

“I mean, it’s been hot before, it is every summer, but this is really hot… September-hot. Do you remember it being this hot last year? Honestly, I’m barely leaving the house, because…”

If the lucky person on the other side of this riveting stuff hasn’t managed to get away after 15 minutes, I’ll smoothly transition into mosquitoes, and then they can pretty much write off their entire afternoon.

I think I’m suffering from the lack of social interaction over the last few months. My best friend Lynne can only handle so much. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a big talker (“Nooooo,” you say), so in normal circumstances, I’m able to keep the volleyball underwater by chatting with people on a daily basis. However, when I’ve basically had to remain schtum for more than 90 days, the first poor soul I run into after that is going to know about it.

The swimming pool technician mumbled something about having his next customer to tend to. The supermarket cashier darted a nervous look at the lineup of people behind me as I blathered on about the evolution of hand sanitiser. The restaurant delivery person stood outside my door and sweated in the very heat to which I was referring in a long, one-sided conversation with him about global warming.

We’re all just happier to see other people… unless, of course, they happen to be driving on the roads. How quickly did we become used to no traffic at all? I was out on Saturday and I actually had to sit in a line of bumper-to-bumper cars for something like five minutes! The Butterfield roundabout was a hive of activity with a large percentage of the population clearly making a beeline to A. L. Thompson’s already bursting parking lot.

It also seems that a lot of folk need a refresher course before getting back behind the wheel and I’m not excluding myself from that group. I was driving past Kirk Market a couple of days ago, marvelling at the fact that there were no longer queues of people waiting outside, only to merrily make my way along Harbour Drive before realising my destination was Dairy Queen. It is so easy to get distracted and have your mind wander. If I had a dollar for every person just sitting at a green light…

At least we’re getting out-and-about, rather than scrolling through social media all day and trying to solve mathematical riddles featuring cats in corners or lots of animals going to a river. I think the equations with images so pixelated that my eyes were basically bleeding as I tried to make them out, were created by an optometrist. You know the ones I’m talking about. Example: Three pairs of shoes = 30 points; two pairs of shoes plus a man = 25 points; and a pair of shoes plus a barbell plus a man = 30 points. On the final line, you find yourself squinting to see if the man is wearing shoes, carrying two barbells and maybe has another shoe hidden in his hair. Then ye olde order-of-operation maths rules come into play – multiplication before addition, and so forth.

I made the mistake of going down the rabbit hole with one of these things. Y’see, the ‘rules’ state that once you’ve solved a puzzle, your correct answer will be removed by the poster and they will private message you to congratulate you on your brilliance. You are then told that you must post the same puzzle on your page, tag the person you won against, and the whole sordid affair starts again.

I won one, and happily re-posted. Five hours later of getting nothing else done but responding to people who were posting the wrong answer, I gave everyone the solution and ran. Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

Yes, being able to get away from the computer for a while has been terrific. Last week, I finally got my Walmartian feet pedicured; one of the few things I couldn’t do myself, as bending down – combined with using the right spectacles – eludes my physical capabilities. Let’s just say I have a COVID tummy that gets in the way.

We also ate indoors at a restaurant for the first time in months. Not gonna lie, it was amazing. Yes, we’d had a couple of meals outdoors when in-house dining was allowed, but man, I looooove the air-conditioning. Anyone having to work outside right now, wearing a mask, deserves a medal.

“Why?” you may inquire.

I’m glad you asked. Let me bend your ear about my favourite ‘hot’ topic…

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